The New England Patriots stunned the NFL world on Tuesday by announcing that they cut veteran quarterback Cam Newton, officially ushering in the Mac Jones era in Massachusetts.
Head coach Bill Belichick had repeatedly said throughout the offseason that Newton was the team’s starting quarterback, but had to prove it during the offseason by not being outperformed by Jones.
That’s apparently what just happened as the rookie Jones is coming off a preseason in which he completed 36-of-52 passes for 389 yards and a touchdown compared to Newton completing 14-of-21 attempts for 162 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Newton was brought back by the Patriots on a one-year, $3.5 million deal after a debut campaign with the team last year that saw him go 7-8 as a starter, which also included a bout with COVID-19 — which became a point of controversy between the passer and franchise.
The 32-year-old is reportedly unvaccinated and heaped further disapproval upon his shoulders from the Patriots last week because of a “misunderstanding” surrounding the league’s COVID-19 protocols. Newton left Patriots facilities for an approved medical appointment, forcing him to undergo a five-day waiting period before re-joining the team in which he missed a bulk of joint practice time against the New York Giants.
That supposedly helped open the door further for Jones to wrestle the job away.
Newton should have no shortage of interested parties, regardless of if a team is looking for a starter or for depth. The 2015 NFL MVP spent the first nine years of his career with the Carolina Panthers, where he was named to three Pro Bowls and won an NFC title.
The Eagles’ search for quarterback depth behind Jalen Hurts seemingly ended over the weekend when they acquired Gardner Minshew from the Jacksonville Jaguars.