When Malik Cunningham joined the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent earlier this month, there was some speculation whether or not he would be changing positions at the next level. So far, it appears no moves in that direction have been made.
Cunningham was used exclusively at quarterback at the Patriots’ rookie minicamp last weekend, according to a report by Doug Kyed of A to Z Sports.
After not hearing his name called in the NFL Draft, the 24-year-old joined the Patriots as a free agent — signing a sizable contract to come to New England. His $200,000 in guarantees consisting of a $30,000 signing bonus and $170,000 salary guarantee are the second-most ever handed out by the team.
That alone does not make him a lock to make the roster, though. Quite the opposite: Cunningham will need to show he is worth the investment, despite currently sitting at No. 4 on the quarterback depth chart behind Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe and Trace McSorley.
His skillset, however, is intriguing and might allow him to stick around either on the active roster or practice squad. Cunningham, after all, is a true dual-threat player at the quarterback position and capable of challenging teams with his right arm and his feet.
Starting 47 games in his six-year career at Louisville, he completed 62.6 percent of his pass attempts (692 of 1,105) for 9,664 yards, 70 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. He additionally gained 3,184 and scored 50 touchdowns on 619 rushing attempts. His 120 total touchdowns actually are one more than his predecessor had with the Cardinals, future first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson.
Cunningham was a highly productive player at Louisville, but still had to enter the NFL through free agency. Questions about his size — he measured at 6-foot-0, 192 pounds — and accuracy made for an uncertain projection.
The Patriots still decided to gamble on his talent, making Cunningham one of three UDFA pickups. The team also signed tight end Johnny Lumpkin and linebacker Jourdan Heilig.