The Panthers waived Matt Corral on Wednesday — a move that could’ve caught a few supporters by surprise considering all the preseason positivity that flowed between the 2022 draft pick and the organization.
But Carolina wasn’t the only team to release its third-string quarterback this week.
Head coach Frank Reich offered a glimpse as to why.
“As we’ve talked about really the whole offseason, there are a lot of complexities, a lot of moving parts to putting together a roster,” Reich told reporters Wednesday around 3:30 p.m. ET. “Everybody understands that the sole motivation is to do what’s best for the team.”
He then added: “I don’t mind saying I would love to get Matt back. We think he’s done very well, and we’d love to see him continue to progress.”
There was a lot of talk this preseason about whether the new QB3 rule — where a third quarterback can be listed as “inactive” during a game but can still dress in case of injury emergencies — would save Corral’s spot on the team’s 53-man roster for Week 1.
It didn’t in Corral’s case. And it didn’t for other players around the league, either.
Here’s another look at five prominent quarterbacks around the league released to the waiver wire in the past two days — as well as what their respective futures hold.
Matt Corral, Panthers
It’s not the best list to be on, but Corral is among the more well-known quarterbacks who fit this criteria. The 2022 third-round pick for the Panthers had a solid, healthy, full preseason — tenfold more than what could be said a year ago — and his decision-making improved in the three preseason games he played in.
Bailey Zappe, Patriots
The second-year quarterback out of Western Kentucky put together quite a 2023 preseason statline of 253 yards passing and a touchdown. Conventional NFL wisdom rendered Zappe a lock as the team’s backup to Mac Jones, but Bill Belichick went ahead and waived Zappe with the hope that he’d return to the practice squad — which Zappe did — and still be able to dress out for the Patriots on game day.
Malik Cunningham, also Patriots
Malik Cunningham and Zappe found themselves in the same boat this week. Both were waived and both returned to the practice squad thanks to the Patriots’ outside-the-box maneuvering. Cunningham is a 6-foot-1, 198-pound Louisville product and was an undrafted free agent.
Kellen Mond, Browns
Kellen Mond was released by the Browns on Tuesday, and the team opted to not bring him back. Former Panthers backup PJ Walker will be on the practice squad in his stead. The Browns’ quarterback room now: Deshaun Watson, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Walker.
Ben DiNucci, Broncos
Third-string Broncos quarterback Ben DiNucci was waived Tuesday, but the team opted to bring him back to the practice squad. The former seventh-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys was also a star for the XFL’s Seattle Sea Dragons. The James Madison product finished 21 of 31 for 187 yards passing in his 2023 preseason.