Malik Cunningham’s promotion to the active roster might not be the only new quarterback wrinkle Patriots fans see Sunday.

Multiple reports this week indicated Will Grier, not Bailey Zappe, could replace Mac Jones if Jones is benched for the third consecutive week.

We should find out well before kickoff whether that is the case.

In Grier’s first three games with the Patriots, he was designated as the emergency third QB. That meant he did not occupy a gameday roster spot and only could play if Jones and Zappe both left the game with injuries.

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If the Patriots do, in fact, plan to have Grier be their primary backup for this Sunday’s matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium, then he won’t be listed on the inactives report released 90 minutes before the game. Zappe likely would be.

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Grier is New England’s most experienced QB in terms of NFL tenure, but he hasn’t appeared in a game since he started two as a Carolina Panthers rookie in 2019. He went on to log backup stints with the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals before the Patriots signed him off Cincy’s practice squad last month.

Zappe impressed as an injury fill-in for Jones last season, but he struggled in Bill O’Brien’s new offense this summer and was decidedly mediocre in each of his two relief appearances this season. The 2022 fourth-round draft pick went 7-for-18 for 79 yards after replacing Jones in lopsided losses to Dallas and New Orleans.

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Jones, who committed six turnovers across the two defeats, will have a “short leash” against Las Vegas, according to a report Sunday from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.

It’s unclear how the Patriots plan to use Cunningham in his official NFL debut. The athletic undrafted rookie worked at both QB and wide receiver while on the practice squad. Rather than simply elevating him for Sunday’s game, the Patriots made the bold move of signing him to a three-year contract.

Any spark would help New England’s sputtering offense, which hasn’t scored a touchdown in 10 quarters and managed just three total points over the last two games.

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images