The Patriots’ practice squad takes shape with 15 signings, including Bailey Zappe and Malik Cunningham


The Patriots still have one spot left on their practice-squad roster as of Wednesday night.

New England Patriots quarterback Malik Cunningham (16)scrambles out of the pocket during the second half of an NFL pre-season football game against the Houston Texans, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass.
Malik Cunningham is sticking around in Foxborough this season. AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper

Just a day after the Patriots whittled their training-camp roster down to 53 players, New England assembled most of its practice squad on Wednesday with 15 total signings. 

Here’s a look at the 15 players that New England added to its practice squad, headlined by a pair of quarterbacks in Bailey Zappe and Malik Cunningham.

QB Bailey Zappe
QB/WR Mailk Cunningham
WR Thyrick Pitts
OL Andrew Stueber
OL James Ferentz
S Joshuah Bledsoe
P Corliss Waitman
OL Kody Russey
LB Calvin Munson
LB Joe Giles-Harris
RB Ty Montgomery
TE Matt Sokol
RB Kevin Harris
LB Ronnie Perkins
TE Pharaoh Brown

Both Zappe and Cunningham’s availability were the top question marks after New England opted to waive both of them on Tuesday. Even though their age and skill sets made them intriguing options on the waiver wire for the other 31 NFL teams, both Zappe and Cunningham will remain in Foxborough.

Any practice squad player can be elevated a total of three times before having to join the 53-man roster, so both Zappe and Cunningham can be brought in to back up Mac Jones at QB, at least for a stretch of regular-season play.

The Patriots can elevated two practice squad players to the game roster every week without needing to pass them through waivers.

New England does have some flexibility when it comes to putting together its personnel on the practice squad, with teams now allowed to put six veterans on their practice squad. Ten additional practice-squad spots are available for players who have not yet accrued two years of NFL experience.

The Patriots currently have one more vacant spot on their practice squad, with running back J.J. Taylor standing as a potential option after once again flashing his talents during preseason action. 

With wide receiver Tyquan Thornton expected to be placed on injured reserve, more roster moves loom for the Patriots. Thornton’s injury designation will free up a roster spot up on the 53-man unit, potentially paving the way for a player like Ty Montgomery, Zappe, or even a linebacker such as Calvin Munson to earn a promotion back up to the main grouping. 

Even though New England put together their list of 53 players on Tuesday, expect both Bill Belichick and Matt Groh to continue to shuffle around their personnel and depth chart in the days leading up to the Patriots’ Week 1 matchup against the Eagles.