Quick Slants

Perry: Pats ‘rolling the dice' by releasing Zappe

Mac Jones is the only QB on New England's initial 53-man roster.

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"Zappe Fever" has run its course in Foxboro.

The New England Patriots released backup quarterback Bailey Zappe ahead of Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET roster cutdown deadline. Rookie quarterback/wide receiver Malik Cunningham also was waived, leaving third-year signal-caller Mac Jones as the only QB on the team's initial 53-man roster.

Zappe helped the Patriots win a couple of games while Jones was injured last season, but the 2022 fourth-round pick wasn't able to duplicate that success this summer. His struggles during training camp practices were well-documented and they carried into his preseason appearances, including the preseason finale vs. the Tennessee Titans.

🔊 Patriots Talk: Patriots waive Zappe, so who backs up Mac? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

So, what's next for New England as it searches for a new No. 2 QB? It seems Bill Belichick and Co. are confident Zappe will clear waivers and end up back on the practice squad. But as our Phil Perry points out, that's risky business.

"If you're the Patriots, you have to be comfortable with the fact that Bailey Zappe's not coming back to you," Perry said on Tuesday's episode of Quick Slants. "That's another fourth-round pick potentially up in flames outside of helping you win a couple of games last year, and he impressed a lot of people when he did that. But less than a year later, for him to be out the door with no guarantee of him not coming back, never mind any compensation coming back -- at least they got a player back for Pierre Strong when they decided to get rid of him recently.

"This is the kind of thing where I think they feel as though the preseason tape on Bailey Zappe was bad enough that they must feel pretty good about the fact that he will be back. And if he's not, I just wonder where you go next. There's not a lot of former Patriots or former Bill O'Brien proteges floating around out there that are capable quarterbacks today as we sit here in late August 2023. You're talking about A.J. McCarron, Case Keenum's staying in Houston, there just aren't a lot of options out there. So they are rolling the dice by releasing Bailey Zappe."

There are a few potential backup QB upgrades available, though none are likely to get Pats fans excited. Whoever ends up joining the Patriots' QB room, they'll have less than two weeks to get ready for Week 1 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles.

The regular-season opener is set for Sept. 10 at Gillette Stadium.

You can watch the full episode of "Quick Slants" below:

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