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Division Rivals Raiders, Chargers Could Battle For Former Starter

The New England Patriots are looking to trade Bailey Zappe, and the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers could be interested.
Bailey Zappe Trade

Every person in the football world knows it’s only a matter of time until the New England Patriots trade or release Bailey Zappe. After showing some promise when taking over for an injured Mac Jones as a rookie, Zappe spent the early part of the 2023 season backing up the former first-round pick. While Zappe eventually took the starting job from Jones, the former fourth-round pick didn’t do anything to prove he had a future with the team. In 10 games (six starts), the quarterback completed just 59.9% of his passes for 1,272 yards, six touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

With Jerod Mayo and Eliot Wolf running the show, New England spent big on Jacoby Brissett and drafted Drake Maye and Joe Milton in the 2024 NFL Draft. While Bailey Zappe is still on the roster, nobody will be surprised if and when the team decides to trade him. New England probably won’t get more than a late-round pick for his services, but the Chargers and Raiders are the most likely landing spots for the veteran passer.

Chargers, Raiders Could Trade For Patriots Bailey Zappe

The Las Vegas Raiders are perhaps the only team where Bailey Zappe could compete for a starting job. Aidan O’Connell did his best in the back half of the 2023 season, but the former fourth-round pick has yet to prove that he is a proper franchise quarterback. Gardner Minshew, meanwhile, nearly guided the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs in place of an injured Anthony Richardson, but he’s been in the league long enough that everyone knows exactly what he brings to the table. This quarterback room has perhaps the lowest floor in the league, and a Bailey Zappe trade could provide some stability to the unit.

Zappe wouldn’t start from Day 1, and he might not even win the backup job. However, this team will probably filter through starting quarterbacks in 2024, so they might as well take a shot on the veteran. While Zappe’s numbers were abysmal last year, he should improve with a better offensive line and two reliable receivers in Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers. Meyers and Bailey Zappe spent time together in New England, so perhaps the Raiders wideout can put in a good word for the trade target.

A Better Backup In Los Angeles

Justin Herbert is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and will remain under center as long as he’s healthy. However, Jim Harbaugh is a cautious coach who would probably like a better Plan B than Easton Stick. Stick did all that could be expected of him in relief of Herbert last year, but he ultimately went 0-4 with pedestrian numbers during his time on the field. Stick might be better than Bailey Zappe, but Harbaugh could trade a late-round pick to provide some competition here.

Zappe might lack physical gifts, but he’s the type of quarterback who can execute an offense as called, so long as he doesn’t have to do too much out of structure. A run-heavy coach like Harbaugh should appreciate that style of play, and perhaps history can repeat itself and he can save Zappe’s career just like he did with Alex Smith all those years ago.

Main Photo: David Butler II – USA Today Sports


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