New England Patriots

Belichick gives surprisingly honest answer about Cunningham's departure

The Ravens offense is a better fit for the young QB.

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Malik Cunningham joined the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday when they signed him off the New England Patriots' practice squad.

His departure was a little bit of a surprise given how much time and effort the Patriots invested in developing the ex-Louisville quarterback. He was given a large contract by undrafted free agent standards back in May, and then reportedly was signed to a three-year extension before Week 6 in October. And yet he never threw a pass in a regular season game for the Patriots.

It remains to be seen how much of a role Cunningham will have in Baltimore, where star quarterback Lamar Jackson has led the Ravens to an AFC-leading 10-3 record.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick confirmed during his press conference Wednesday that the team tried to keep Cunningham, then explained why the Ravens were a good fit for the young quarterback, citing Cunningham's familiarity with Jackson, who was his teammate at Louisville for one season in 2017.

“Yeah, but I think at the end of the day, they sold him on the opportunity, the offense; he had Lamar (Jackson). Certainly, their offense suits Malik better than probably any other offense in the league does, so it makes sense.”

This is a surprisingly candid answer from Belichick, who usually doesn't offer much of an explanation for departing players.

Cunningham's departure prompted several Patriots players to wish him well on social media. Left tackle Trent Brown wrote in an Instagram story, "Go flourish where your talent is respected lil bradda."

The Patriots are expected to start Bailey Zappe at quarterback when they host the Kansas City Chiefs for Sunday's Week 15 game at Gillette Stadium, although the team hasn't made an official announcement yet.

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