We finally have a statement from Bill Belichick on why the Patriots made the surprising decision to waive Bailey Zappe nearly a week ago during roster cuts.
In the time since the Patriots cut their backup quarterback, Belichick hasn’t held a press conference or video conference call, so, Monday’s WebEx session with reporters was the first opportunity to ask the head coach about the move.
“All roster decisions are based on what we feel like’s best for our football team,” Belichick said. “There’s a number of things involved there. But glad to have Bailey to continue to work with him. Still think he’s a good, young, developing player, and so we’ll keep working with him.”
The Patriots waived Zappe last Tuesday. He cleared waivers Wednesday, immediately signed with the Patriots’ practice squad and was on the practice field an hour later.
Since that time, the Patriots claimed quarterback Matt Corral off waivers from the Panthers. Corral was waived Wednesday, and the Patriots claimed him onto their 53-man roster on Thursday.
The Ole Miss product was selected a round earlier than Zappe in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Patriots actually traded the pick Carolina used to draft Corral to the Panthers for a 2022 fourth-round pick and 2023 third-round pick. Zappe was selected with the 2022 fourth-rounder, and the Patriots grabbed linebacker/safety Marte Mapu with the 2023 third. Now, all three players are on the Patriots.
Belichick said Monday that it’s too soon to tell if Corral could be starter Mac Jones’ backup Sunday against the Eagles in the Week 1 season opener. Corral has yet to take the practice field with the Patriots since he was claimed after practice Thursday, and the team has been off since that time for a long break during Labor Day Weekend.
If Corral isn’t ready, then Zappe could be elevated off of the practice squad to be Jones’ backup.
Corral missed his entire rookie season with a Lisfranc injury suffered during a preseason game against the Patriots.
Zappe went 2-0 in relief of Jones but struggled in new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien’s system in training camp and the preseason. The expected quarterback competition between Zappe and Jones never took off, and Zappe is now doing his potential backup work from the practice squad.