Bill Belichick is most NFL fans’ favorite villain. He’s not just annoying like their rivals, he’s not incompetent like Roger Goodell, he’s just evil like a cartoon villain. He spies on opposing teams. He makes ruthless roster moves. He’s always looking to get the upper hand, and he’ll stop at nothing to win.
So when the Patriots announced that their seemingly inexplicable series of quarterback maneuvers ended with the signing of Matt Corral as the new QB2, that set off some immediate red flags.
Patriots Matt Corral Connection
Let me spin you a tale here.
It’s April 29, 2022. Bill Belichick knows he wants to draft a rookie quarterback to back up Mac Jones. And he’s got his sights set on an exciting prospect in Matt Corral. With three fourth-round picks, Belichick thinks he’ll have a shot to grab Corral. Instead the Carolina Panthers do.
Belichick has to seethe about that all night before settling for Bailey Zappe in the fourth round the following day. That long, sleepless night gives him plenty of time to begin plotting his evil scheme.
Fast forward to August 16th 2022. Patriots-Panthers joint practice begin. Belichick has his team so fired up that fights break out on consecutive days, setting the stage for a fiery preseason showdown on August 19th.
On August 19th, Matt Corral gets stepped on, resulting in a season-ending lisfranc injury. Belichick didn’t even need to plant a Gregg Williams-type bounty on Corral – he simply stirred the pot all week and let it boil over. Masterful. Evil? Yes. But masterful.
Unable to give Corral a shot all season, the Panthers are forced to spend the season with Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker at the helm. They earn the first-overall pick, with no choice but to draft a QB.
They’re not going to back Bryce Young up with a guy who has never played an NFL snap, so Andy Dalton stays in Carolina while Corral gets waived.
Belichick, meanwhile, sees this coming from a mile away, because it’s exactly what he planned.
He makes a seemingly inexplicable move, leaving the Patriots with one QB by waiving both Bailey Zappe and Malik Cunningham. What if someone claims them? What if they opt to sign elsewhere? Are we really keeping our QB2 on the practice squad? Bill couldn’t care less. This isn’t about Zappe and Cunningham.
August 31st arrive, and Bill gets his guy. It took 489 days for this plan to come into place, but when you have the job security that Belichick does, you can afford to have a slow-burn plan like this one.
No? We think this is a bit too much of a stretch? Maybe it’s all a coincidence, and Corral isn’t even a lock to hang onto that QB2 job if he can’t outplay Zappe in practice?
Okay, maybe you’re right. But either way, it’s a surprising move to have an unproven youngster as Jones’ backup rather than a more proven veteran, and maybe that speaks volumes to the confidence Belichick has in what Jones will do in his third NFL season.