Patriots waive QB Malik Cunningham 10 days after signing him to 3-year extension

Malik Cunningham will likely end up back on the Patriots’ practice squad. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images) (Chris Unger via Getty Images)

In the NFL, it’s rare for a player to stick around for the entirety of a three-year deal. That was the case for Malik Cunningham, who found himself waived by the New England Patriots just 10 days after signing a three-year contract extension.

The Patriots made the announcement on Tuesday, parting ways with Cunningham, a quarterback, according to reports.

Cunningham joined the Patriots as an undrafted free agent after the 2023 NFL Draft. He previously played six years at Louisville, taking over as the starting quarterback following the departure of Lamar Jackson. He spent four seasons as the Cardinals’ starter under head coach Scott Satterfield, leaving with impressive passing and rushing statistics.

In New England, Cunningham transitioned into a hybrid quarterback/wide receiver role to help the team’s shallow receiving corps. After a strong preseason, he began the regular season on the practice squad. When he was called up to the active roster in Week 6, he received a three-year, $2.725 million contract extension, a departure from the usual practice squad elevation.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick praised Cunningham’s efforts at the time of the contract, saying, “Malik has really worked hard and made a lot of improvement. Anybody that keeps improving, eventually you’ll probably get an opportunity to play,” as reported by ESPN.

“Malik has really worked hard and made a lot of improvement,” Belichick said. “Anybody that keeps improving, eventually you’ll probably get an opportunity to play.”

Cunningham saw limited action in Week 6 against the Las Vegas Raiders, playing two snaps as a quarterback and four as a receiver. However, he was not included in the lineup the following week.

With starting quarterback Mac Jones and backups Bailey Zappe and Will Grier all healthy and on the active roster, the Patriots decided to part ways with Cunningham. If he clears waivers, he is expected to return to the team’s practice squad, according to ESPN.


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