FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots release veteran starting quarterback Cam Newton on Tuesday morning, according to multiple reports, first reported by Jim McBride of the Boston Globe.
We didn't really expect it to be a full-on quarterback battle, at least to begin the season in New England, but that's what it turned into this summer between rookie first round pick Mac Jones and Newton.
On Monday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick refused to say who would start Week 1.
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Newton started in each of New England's preseason games, but he missed five days of practice leading into Sunday’s exhibition finale after a “misunderstanding” of NFL COVID-19 protocols. It required Newton to sit out a mandatory five-day waiting period for unvaccinated players after he attended an out-of-town doctor’s appointment.
While a reason for Newton's release haven't been made known, this may have been the last straw for Belichick.
Newton, 31, came to New England prior to last season after nine seasons with the Carolina Panthers.
Last year, Newton started for the Patriots going 7-8 in 15 games with 2,657 passing yards and eight touchdowns.
Now, rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who has impressed in the preseason, will be the starter for the Patriots going forward.
The Patriots selected Jones out of Alabama with the 15th pick of April's draft. The 6-foot-3, 217-pound quarterback threw for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns during his final year with the Crimson Tide, completing 77% of his passes.
It will be a fast start for Jones and the Patriots. In Week 1, Jones and the Patriots will face the Dolphins and Jones' former Alabama teammate Tua Tagovailoa. In Week 2, rookie quarterbacks Mac Jones and Zach Wilson of the Jets (No. 2 overall pick) will face off. In Week 4, the Patriots take on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Bucs.
In their first season without Tom Brady behind center, the Patriots missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2008.
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