Pats Insider Hints at Potential Next Cut as OTAs Begin

If the Patriots decide to move on from Bailey Zappe or Juju Smith-Schuster, it could open the door for a jersey change for rookie Joe Milton.
New York Jets v New England Patriots
New York Jets v New England Patriots / Kathryn Riley/GettyImages

With rookie minicamp now in the rearview mirror, the attention turns to OTAs for the New England Patriots, as they look to have a better 2024 season after struggling mightily in 2023 under Bill Belichick.

OTAs are a good starting point for every team across the league as all 90 players will get a chance to make their case as to why they should be on the 53-man roster this fall. 

When it comes to the Patriots, much of the attention will be paid to the quarterback position as they have Drake Maye, Jacoby Brissett, Joe Milton III, and Bailey Zappe. Zappe is competing with Milton for the QB3 spot on the roster as Maye and Brissett are locked in.

With the Patriots moving on Mac Jones this offseason, Zappe is the lone quarterback from last year’s squad on the roster, which should give him a leg up in the competition for the QB3 spot over Milton. 

However, Taylor Kyles of CLNS Media tweeted over the weekend that Patriots fans shouldn’t get used to Milton wearing No. 19, which he donned at the NFLPA’s Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles, California.

Based on this tweet, one could speculate Milton will likely have a new number by the time the regular season rolls around.

If the Patriots were to move on from Zappe this summer, there’s a chance that Milton could take the No. 4 as it would be close to the No. 5 jersey that he wore at the University of Michigan and the Senior Bowl.

However, if New England were to move on from Juju Smith-Schuster, who currently rocks the No. 7 jersey and struggled in his first season with the Patriots, Milton could take that number, which he wore at the University of Tennessee.

Smith-Schuster only played in 11 games last season because of a concussion and a grade two ankle sprain. The former Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver produced 29 receptions (47 targets) for 260 yards and a touchdown.

With the Patriots’ wide receiver room still trying to figure itself out, it would be shocking to see the team move on from Smith-Schuster. That said, if the veteran wide receiver doesn’t perform well this summer, maybe the Patriots take the financial hit and move on from him, opening up the No. 7 jersey for Milton.

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