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Patriots waive QBs Bailey Zappe, Malik Cunningham

The New England Patriots have made moves that firmly establish Mac Jones as the team’s starting quarterback. Backup quarterbacks Bailey Zappe and Malik Cunningham were waived on Tuesday, leaving Jones as the sole quarterback on the team’s roster.

Last season, Zappe stepped in for an injured Jones and gained popularity among fans after leading the team to two victories. Chants of “Zappe! Zappe! Zappe!” were heard from the crowd as they hoped to see more of him. Zappe’s fill-in performances last season were impressive, completing 65 of 92 passes for 781 yards, with five touchdowns and three interceptions.

At the start of the 2023 season, Zappe was positioned as Jones’ primary backup, with Trace McSorley (since released) and undrafted free agent Malik Cunningham ranked third and fourth on the depth chart. There were speculations that Zappe might challenge Jones for the starting position, but that scenario didn’t materialize. In this year’s preseason games, Zappe, a fourth-round pick from Western Kentucky in 2022, played in three games, completing 30 of 51 passes for 247 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. He was sacked six times during these games.

If Zappe and Cunningham clear the waiver process, they could potentially return to the Patriots’ practice squad.

Matthew Slater, a longtime team captain and the Patriots’ most tenured player, expressed surprise at Zappe’s waiver. He commented on the situation, saying, “Certainly something that is, I guess, surprising for a lot of us, but that’s just the nature of the business. I love Bailey. He knows how I feel about him. He’s one of my favorite kids of all time.”

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