FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots quarterback depth chart is back to where it started, as the club intends to sign Bailey Zappe to the 53-man roster Saturday and release Matt Corral, according to sources.
Zappe, who spent the past week on the practice squad, will serve as the top backup to starter Mac Jones in Sunday’s season-opening game against the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS).
Zappe had been released at the final roster cutdown on Aug. 29. Two days later, the Patriots claimed quarterback Corral on waivers from the Carolina Panthers, giving him Zappe’s old spot on the 53-man roster.
But Corral was absent from the team’s Friday practice for non-injury-related reasons, which was the first indicator there would be a switch back to Zappe.
Coach Bill Belichick also hinted that the team would be going to Zappe on Friday when he noted that he “certainly has the advantage on experience and time in the system.”
The question was if Zappe would simply be a game-day elevation from the practice squad or be deemed worthy of a more permanent spot on the 53-man roster.
The way things have unfolded, the Patriots were fortunate that no other team claimed Zappe on waivers in late August, and that he re-signed to their practice squad. Belichick referred to Zappe as a “good, young developing player” while offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien said he was a “much-improved player” from his 2022 rookie season.
Zappe was 2-0 as a fill-in starter for Jones in 2022 and finished the season 65-of-92 for 781 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.