The common refrain we heard from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick all preseason long was that Cam Newton was going to be the starting quarterback and first-round pick Mac Jones was going to back him up, soaking up knowledge from a veteran mentor.
While Newton had some major struggles during his first season in Foxborough, the expectation was that the former Carolina Panthers MVP would return to his old form thanks to all of the high-priced free-agent talents around him.
However, the Patriots are committed to putting the best 11 players on the field as often as possible, and they saw enough from Jones during the preseason to decide that he was ready to take over the starting job.
Jim McBride of the Boston Globe reported that the Patriots have shockingly decided to release Newton, and Adam Schefter confirmed the news. This leaves Brian Hoyer as Jones’ backup, with Jarrett Stidham still on the PUP list.
The New England Patriots released Cam Newton in favor of Mac Jones.
Newton may have thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in 2020, but he brought plenty of value to the mix as a runner, and additions like Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry could’ve helped his passing stats.
Unfortunately, Newton appears to have run out of time in New England after his underwhelming offseason indicated he may have not been able to take the next step (or at least a step big enough) that the team was hoping for.
Jones was one of the best performers of any rookie in the preseason, as his accuracy and decision-making were astonishing for someone as young as he is. Why delay the start of the Jones regime if he has proven he can spin it at the NFL level?
This move signals that Belichick is fully committed to Jones as the starting quarterback beyond a shadow of a doubt and that the organization felt having Newton as the backup wouldn’t have been conducive to the health of the overall team morale. A former MVP backing up a rookie after he was looking to redeem himself after a career-worst season? Doesn’t seem right.
Will some team give Newton a shot to be a starter? Will he have to swallow his pride and accept a backup role?
Either way, Newton’s somewhat disappointing tenure in New England is over, and the Jones era can officially begin against the Dolphins in Week 1 … during which he’ll face former college teammate Tua Tagovailoa.