Ravens Poach ‘Dynamic’ Malik Cunningham From Patriots Roster: Report

The Patriots have lost Malik Cunningham to the Ravens

Getty The Patriots have lost Malik Cunningham to the Ravens

Sure, you are a 3-10 team with no hope for this season, recognizable option at quarterback, and possibly no coach in a few weeks. So why would you want to keep a dynamic and versatile 25-year-old playmaker on your roster? Why not dump him on the practice squad and let another team swipe him? If you’re the New England Patriots, that’s exactly what you’d do. Because on Tuesday, the team had Malik Cunningham poached off the practice squad by the Baltimore Ravens.

It’s good news for Cunningham, who will join friend and mentor Lamar Jackson (a fellow Louisville Cardinal) in Baltimore.

Cunningham was called a, “dynamic athlete with intriguing dual-threat capabilities,” in his NFL.com draft profile. He showed that in small stints during the preseason and drew praise from Patriots coaches for his improvement throughout the year. He was elevated from the practice squad to the Patriots roster twice and signed once to the 53-man roster, but New England never gave him a consistent role.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the news on Twitter/X, writing: “A Louisville reunion in Baltimore: the Ravens are signing QB Malik Cunningham off the Patriots’ practice squad and on to their roster, Cunningham told ESPN today. Cunningham now will finish the season in Baltimore and go to the playoffs.

“Cunningham and Lamar Jackson were teammates at Louisville for one season in 2017. Six years later, Cunningham and Jackson are teammates again, this time with the Ravens.”

Patriots Hopes Were High for Malik Cunningham

What’s frustrating about this Patriots news is the fact that we have been repeatedly teased about Malik Cunningham’s impending place in the offense. He was an undrafted signee this offseason, and given a record-breaking contract $200,000 guarantee. No undrafted player had gotten a guarantee that large.

Cunningham had an impressive performance back in the preseason against the Texans, when he helped lead the Patriots on the team’s lose touchdown drive in a loss to Houston.

When he was originally signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad in October, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Patriots had big plans.

“It wasn’t a throwaway transaction,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote. “I am told the coaches are discussing ways to work Cunningham into the game plan in a somewhat significant way, possibly as early as this week against Buffalo. The Patriots thought they put forth a better effort Sunday against the Raiders, but they still lost the game and are looking for a lot more from the quarterback position than what Mac Jones is giving them.”

‘You Could See Him at Different Spots’

Fowler, though, was absolutely wrong about Malik Cunningham’s role in the Patriots offense. He was never given one. He played six snaps against the Raiders, but did not play again after that. And signing Cunningham to the 53-man was, in fact, a throwaway transaction, because he was cut and returned to the practice squad the following week.

That was despite coach Bill Belichick noting that Cunningham had been “improving” and despite offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien saying that the team would look to deploy Cunningham based on the opponent.

“You could see him at different spots throughout the offense obviously other than offensive line, he can play a lot of different places,” O’Brien said in October, via the Boston Herald. “So, it will be week to week based on the game plan and we’re pretty early in this week so I don’t think we have any idea where that will be this week.”


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