The New England Patriots’ 53-man roster is set for the start of the 2023 season.
Key word there is “start.” Because the 53 players listed below will almost certainly not be the same 53 when the Patriots take the field in the Sept. 10 regular season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The main thing we’re waiting to see is whether players are placed on injured reserve. NFL rules state that in order for a player to be eligible to return from injured reserve, they must first be named to the initial 53-man roster. Wide receiver Tyquan Thornton and offensive lineman Riley Reiff are prime candidates.
Beyond that, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has made his decision at a number of key spots that at least carried some question marks. That includes quarterback, where both second-year pro Bailey Zappe and undrafted rookie Malik Cunningham have been waived.
Without further ado, here’s a position-by-position look at the Patriots’ initial 53-man roster…
Mac Jones. That’s the list.
Obviously, the Patriots will add a backup behind Jones, and possibly a third QB to carry on the practice squad/run the scout team. That could be Zappe and/or Cunningham, if they clear waivers. But for now, Jones is the only QB on the roster. The releases of both Bailey Zappe and Malik Cunningham were easily the biggest surprises of the day.
It’s a massive vote of confidence in Jones, who is primed for a bounce-back season after a rough 2022 for the offense all-around. The hope is that the offensive line in front of him can hold up, and his pass-catchers can get enough separation to make explosive plays down the field.