The New England Patriots don't have a quarterback on their roster with more than two years of NFL experience. But they at least explored the possibility of adding a veteran arm late this summer, it appears.
The Patriots "put feelers out" on quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Case Keenum before ultimately signing former Carolina Panthers QB Matt Corral, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported Wednesday.
Both McCoy (37 years old) and Keenum (35) have over a decade of NFL experience and could have served as a veteran resource for starter Mac Jones, who's coming off a difficult sophomore campaign and lost his previous veteran backup, Brian Hoyer, to free agency this offseason.
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Instead, New England brought in Corral, who didn't appear in a regular-season game as a rookie in Carolina last season. The two QBs on the Patriots' practice squad are fellow 2022 draft pick Bailey Zappe and 2023 undrafted free agent signing Malik Cunningham, who has also seen reps at wide receiver.
So, why didn't the Patriots opt for McCoy or Keenum? McCoy was managing an elbow injury when the Arizona Cardinals released him this offseason, so maybe that was a factor. Keenum is on Houston's 53-man roster and the Texans "really value" how he could help rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, according to Breer, so perhaps their price tag was too high for a potential trade.
It's also possible that New England feels more confident in Jones with veteran offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien in the fold. Jones and O'Brien share a connection through Alabama -- Jones helped O'Brien learn the Crimson Tide offense prior to the 2021 NFL Draft -- and by most accounts have worked well together throughout training camp and preseason.
The Patriots signing Corral -- more of a developmental option with little NFL experience but some upside -- could be an indicator that Jones and O'Brien have a strong working relationship that may not warrant the need for a seasoned QB in the room.