Patriots Pregame Live

Breer: Why Bill Belichick didn't release Matt Corral

"This is a very delicate situation right now for the Patriots."

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Matt Corral's stint on the New England Patriots' 53-man roster was short-lived as he was placed on the exempt/left squad list just days after joining the team. However, it was noteworthy that Bill Belichick and Co. opted not to release the 24-year-old quarterback.

Corral reportedly left the Patriots without notice, leading to backup QB Bailey Zappe signing back onto the roster ahead of Week 1 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. The circumstances of Corral's absence are unclear, but The MMQB's Albert Breer offered an explanation for why Belichick decided against outright releasing him.

“Another person told me that Bill did this out of fairness to the kid because he’s been through a lot,” Breer said on NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Pregame Live. “It’s been well-documented why he fell in the draft in 2022. Some people saw him as a first-round talent. He winds up going at the end of the third round and it was in large part because of incidents in high school, some of the issues he had early on in college.

“At the very least, this is a very delicate situation right now for the Patriots, and I think out of respect for everything that Matt Corral’s gone through over the last six or seven years, Bill Belichick chose not to release him yet, to put him on that left squad list so they can get more information on where he’s at and how he’s doing.”

The exempt/left squad list allowed the Patriots to open up a roster spot without having to release Corral. The former Carolina Panthers QB cannot sign with another team until the designation has been lifted, though he can rejoin the Patriots at any time.

Zappe will resume his role as Mac Jones' backup for the Patriots' season opener against the Eagles. Kickoff is set for 4:25 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium.

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