The New England Patriots have decided on their starting quarterback situation by releasing Cam Newton. The move effectively pushes rookie Mac Jones into the starting spot ahead of the 2021 season. Meanwhile, Newton didn’t take long to express his first words after his surprising departure.
Patriots release Cam Newton
With the 2021 season fast approaching, the Patriots finally decided on the quarterback position.
New England stunningly elected to part ways with Newton less than two weeks before Week 1 action against the Miami Dolphins. It comes after head coach Bill Belichick remained uncommitted to naming a starting quarterback.
Newton previously re-signed with the Patriots under a one-year, $5.1 million with $3.5 million guaranteed. His contract likely made it an easier decision for New England to move on from him. The team was also reportedly frustrated with the COVID-19 protocol mishap that forced him to miss a few days of practice.
The three-time Pro Bowler took only 39 snaps in the preseason, completing 14-of-21 passes for 162 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Newton’s departure came coupled with rookie Mac Jones being named the starter after showing flashes of promise.
The Alabama product performed well in joint practice against the New York Giants. Meanwhile, he demonstrated formidability in his extended preseason action, completing 36-of-52 passes for 389 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in 107 total snaps.
The Patriots are moving full steam ahead with Jones as the future under center with Brian Hoyer serving as the primary backup. All that didn’t take long for Newton to issue his first response via social media.
Cam Newton’s first words after the Patriots release him
Newton now sits in the open market less than two weeks before the 2021 season.
It’s a surprising move that has placed him in a challenging situation toward finding his next NFL home. Newton quickly took to Instagram to post his first message to the fans, voicing he didn’t want them to feel bad for him.
“I really appreciate all the love and support during this time but I must say … please don’t feel sorry for me!! #imGOOD,” Newton wrote.
After the Patriots elected to re-sign Newton, the initial belief was that he would get the opportunity to be the starter next season. Instead, New England chose to take Jones in the first round of this year’s draft, setting up the ticking clock on the three-time Pro Bowler.
Newton maintained a professional approach concerning the starting situation while remaining confident in his ability. However, the Patriots moved forward with what they believe is best for the team’s long-term future.
New England may have represented Newton’s last chance to showcase he can still be an effective starting quarterback. His journey into free agency may quickly provide a wake-up call for what lies ahead in his NFL career.
What lies ahead next in free agency?
Newton now dictates the next chapter of his NFL career.
The 32-year-old will feel out the open market to see what potential opportunities lie ahead. The Dallas Cowboys could become a viable option as the team chose to have only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster with Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush.
Newton could step in to provide much-needed depth behind Prescott, who is still recovering from his shoulder injury but is expected to play in Week 1 action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The former league MVP will have to become comfortable with a backup role.
Newton’s time as a clear-cut starting quarterback may be behind him, requiring him to accept that fate as any interested team will look to bring him aboard as a backup.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.