Week 12 marked another low point for the Patriots with a quarterback change being made at halftime and a missed field goal sealing a 10-7 loss to the Giants. To no surprise, roster moves could be coming as a result.
Mac Jones got the start after a week of uncertainty under center for New England. The former first-rounder’s struggles continued, however, and he a threw a pair of interceptions in the first half. That led to the decision to bring in Bailey Zappe, a swap which did not pay the desired dividends. The team’s offense moved the ball better with the latter in place, but a missed 35-yard field goal in the final minute ended the Patriots’ chances of tying the game.
When asked if additions at the quarterback and kicker positions could be coming soon, head coach Bill Belichick left the door open to moves in the coming days. In the latter case in particular, it would come as no surprise if competition for rookie Chad Ryland were to brought in. The fourth-rounder has missed a 35-yarder in two straight games, bringing his overall success rate on the season to 66.7% (12 for 18), though he has been perfect on extra points.
“Yeah, I don’t really see that right now,” Belichick said on the matter of seeking out another quarterback option, via Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald. “But I mean, I wouldn’t rule anything out. Anything that would help our team… I don’t know. Nobody that comes to mind but we’ll see.”
The Patriots have made numerous changes at the QB spot in 2023, at one point having Jones as the only signal-caller on the active roster. Zappe cleared waivers during final roster cutdowns, but he has remained in the organization and received brief looks under center recently. Both he and Jones have not shown enough progress this season to instill confidence in either for 2024 and beyond, though, leading to questions about the team’s long-term future at the position. New England waived Will Grier over the weekend, and he will be eligible to re-sign via the practice squad if he goes unclaimed on Monday.
Plenty of options are available with respect to unsigned kickers. The position was one of stability in New England for four years with veteran Nick Folk, but the decision to draft Ryland signaled the end of his Patriots tenure. Folk, 39, has connected on 22 of 23 field goal tries with the Titans, along with each of his 17 extra point tries. A reunion with the veteran cannot take place now, of course, but a different experienced option could be brought in to compete with Ryland.
As Belichick noted, though, nothing is imminent regarding roster shake-ups at any position on the 2-9 Patriots. The team has just over $2MM in cap space to use on any potential new faces brought in to help in the closing stages of a lost season.