Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Matt Corral deserved to land on his feet and get a fresh start after being claimed by the New England Patriots.
Life in the NFL is a turbulent business for many players. Very few are genuinely secure in their respective positions unless truly elite, which could be down to depth chart standing, contractual implications, or simply falling out of favor from a schematic point of view.
This is something that befell quarterback Matt Corral this week. Just when it looked like he'd done enough and the Carolina Panthers were moving forward with three signal-callers, the former third-round selection was sent to the proverbial scrap heap along with Chandler Wooten and Derek Wright to make room for three waiver claims.
That's all part of the cutthroat nature when it comes to roster building and in truth, pretty standard procedure for a player that endured nothing but bad luck since entering the league. But make no mistake, the football gods were shining on Corral just a few short hours after he was deemed surplus to requirements by general manager Scott Fitterer and head coach Frank Reich.
Matt Corral lands in a great spot after Carolina Panthers exit
Any hopes the Panthers had of bringing Corral back on the practice squad were dashed when he was claimed by the New England Patriots. Looking at how things currently stand with his new employers, one could make a strong argument for this being the best possible place to galvanize his career.
Corral never got a fair shot in Carolina. He played second fiddle to a needless quarterback competition between Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold in one desperate attempt from Matt Rhule to save his job, which was swiftly followed by a serious foot fracture against the Patriots in preseason that shelved the gunslinger for just under a year.
By the time he was healthy enough to participate, the Panthers traded up for Bryce Young at No. 1 overall and signed veteran Andy Dalton to mentor their new rookie phenom. This left Corral on the outside looking in and although he got a ton of work in the preseason, it wasn't enough to get an extended stay.
He's now landed on the team that ironically moved aside via trade so the Panthers could move up for Corral in the first place. It cost them their 2022 fourth-rounder and a third-round selection in 2023, only for the trade to go horribly wrong.
Corral immediately becomes No. 2 in New England with Bailey Zappe on the practice squad after reportedly having a hard time picking up the Patriots' new offense. He'll get the opportunity to learn from Bill Belichick and Bill O'Brien - two of the most experienced minds in the business with a wealth of outstanding accomplishments under their belts.
Another reason this represents a decent landing spot is the predicament involving Mac Jones. The former Alabama star regressed considerably last season - albeit with no genuine offensive play-caller - so big changes might be afoot if improvements don't emerge with no further excuses to make.
This could mean there's a chance for Corral to swoop and gain meaningful minutes in a competitive setting. Something he was never going to get in Carolina buried down the depth chart behind Young and Dalton.
What Corral represents is another wasted pick and a failed trade from a franchise that's made more than their fair share of mistakes at football's most important position. Hopefully, Young will buck this trend in 2023 and way into the future.
As for Corral, he made the best of a bad situation but the cards were always stacked against him. With any luck, his switch to the Patriots is the start of a more prosperous career path.