Patriots 2023 UDFA tracker: Latest updates on signings after NFL Draft
Patriots UDFA tracker: Latest updates on players signed after draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The 2023 NFL Draft is over, but that doesn't mean teams are finished adding rookies to their rosters ahead of training camp.
Undrafted free agents are an important part of the offseason. Quality players always go undrafted for a variety of reasons. The New England Patriots have actually enjoyed a lot of success with these players.
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In fact, since 2000 when Bill Belichick took over as head coach, a UDFA has made the Patriots' Week 1 roster almost every season. Three of the most notable examples are Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler in 2014, center David Andrews in 2015 and cornerback J.C. Jackson in 2018. Andrews has won two Super Bowl titles in New England and is still the team's starting center. Jackson won Super Bowl LIII as a rookie.
Here's a list of all the UDFAs the Patriots have signed post-draft. It will be updated as more players are added to the roster.
Malik Cunningham, QB, Louisville
The Patriots have another quarterback, giving them four in total -- Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe, Trace McSorley and now Cunningham.
Here are the terms of his contract, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero:
Cunningham is an exciting player with an impressive dual-threat skill set. He completed 62.4 percent of his passes for 1,568 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions in 10 games last season. He also makes plays in the open field with his speed. Cunningham tallied 1,591 yards and 32 touchdowns on the ground in 23 games over the last two seasons.
Reaction to the signing from the national media was pretty positive:
Under-the-radar UDFA signing that we will be talking about this fall:
Louisville QB Malik Cunningham to the Patriots
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) May 1, 2023
Johnny Lumpkin, TE, Louisiana
The Patriots don't have a tight end signed beyond the 2023 season, which is why it was pretty surprising that they didn't draft one last weekend.
But they did sign Lumpkin, per Jordan Schultz of The Score. Lumpkin has good athleticism for his size (6-foot-6 and 248 pounds). He caught 16 passes for 148 yards and four touchdowns over 13 games last season. In four years at Louisiana, he tallied 36 receptions for 408 yards and six touchdowns in 28 games.
Lumpkin joins Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki and Matt Sokol on the Patriots' tight end depth chart.
Jourdan Heilig, LB, Appalachian State
Heilig was a special teams star for Appalachian State, and we know how much Belichick values special teams excellence. Special teams also was a real weakness for the Patriots in 2022, so adding some new talent to the mix makes sense. He tallied 34 tackles in 29 career games at Appalachian State. The signing of Heilig was reported by Doug Kyed of AtoZ Sports.