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Bailey Zappe seems unfazed by uncertain future with Patriots

We’ll say this about Bailey Zappe: He’s never lacked confidence.

The 24-year-old seems like the obvious odd man out in the New England Patriots’ quarterback room, especially after the team agreed to terms with veteran Jacoby Brissett this week. If the Patriots use the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on a QB — as many expect — Zappe figures to be a third-stringer at best and a cut candidate at worst.

But at the moment, with Mac Jones out of the picture and Brissett still not on the official roster, Zappe technically is New England’s QB1. And he’s acting like it.

Zappe is in Oregon this week working out with several Patriots pass-catchers including Kendrick Bourne, DeMario Douglas and Tyquan Thornton. Both Zappe and Bourne shared videos on their Instagram stories of Zappe tossing passes to his Patriots teammates.

There’s no reason for Zappe not to lead these workouts; with all due respect to Nathan Rourke, Zappe is the only QB on the roster with actual NFL experience, and he was New England’s starting quarterback for the final six games of the 2023 season. He can’t control his future, but he can control how he spends his offseason, so he’s taking the initiative by putting in work with familiar Patriots faces.

But what does the future hold for Zappe? The 2022 fourth-round pick is under contract for just $985,000 this season before becoming a restricted free agent in 2025. Given his contract and ability to at least function as an NFL starter — he’s 4-4 in eight starts over two seasons — there’s a case for the Patriots keeping him around as an in-case-of-emergency QB3 behind Brissett and whichever rookie they draft.

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Then again, new head coach Jerod Mayo may desire a full QB reset after two rocky seasons with Jones and Zappe in the QB room. A trade seems unlikely considering Jones only fetched a sixth-round pick in return, so New England likely would have to release Zappe outright if he wants to wipe the slate clean.

The most likely result is that Zappe remains on the roster at least through the draft and minicamp, and that the Patriots evaluate their QB situation closer to the season and decide whether Zappe is worth keeping around.

One thing we know for sure? As long as Zappe is on the roster, he’ll compete like the starting job is up for grabs.

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