The Patriots Have Released Cam Newton And Will Start Rookie Mac Jones

The Patriots Have Released Cam Newton And Will Start Rookie Mac Jones

The New England Patriots entered this preseason as one of four teams with a first round rookie quarterback and, as such, a quarterback battle taking place in camp between Alabama rookie Mac Jones and veteran Cam Newton.

Jones has, as was the case throughout his time in Tuscaloosa, been steady for the Pats throughout the preseason, showing why they were so bullish on landing him at No. 15 on Draft night back in April. Jones completed nearly 70 percent of his passes in the preseason, throwing for more than 300 yards in three games and capping things off with an impressive 10-of-14, 156 yard, and 1 TD performance in the finale against New York — a game Newton barely played, going 2-of-5 for 10 yards and one interception.

Newton’s preseason was far more volatile, with a rocky first week followed by a sensational second week, but it was the third week that allowed Jones to separate after Newton was forced out of practice for COVID-19 protocols. After missing most of practice, he had just the brief appearance in the final preseason game and Jones, who had taken all of the reps with the ones in practice, shined. The result was that Jones not only won the starting job, but Newton found himself out of a job on Tuesday, as many reported Newton was among the Patriots’ final cuts.

It’s not a total shock that Newton would get cut after losing the starting job, as his contract was only guaranteed for $3.5 million of the $5.5 million he was signed for this offseason, allowing the Patriots to save some money by sticking with Brian Hoyer as the backup, while also ensuring there is no controversy over who should start should the team or Jones struggle early. It is firmly Mac Jones’ team in Foxborough now, as the Pats seem confident they have found their franchise QB.

The much bigger question is on Newton’s side, where the 2015 NFL MVP is now a free agent and will have to hope someone else was impressed enough with his preseason to want to bring him in just before the regular season. Making matters even more difficult for Newton is that the NFL’s policies regarding unvaccinated players makes it nearly impossible for him to get into practices in time to have a shot at the season opener.