The New England Patriots released veteran quarterback Cam Newton on Tuesday after weeks of speculation regarding whether he’d be the team’s starter in 2021-22.
With the move, New England has signaled that rookie quarterback, Mac Jones, will be the starter going forward.
For weeks, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has seemingly maintained that Newton would likely be the one to lead the offense heading into next season. That all began to change in recent days, when Newton suffered one embarrassing setback after another. The former MVP’s cryptic social media posts from that point forward suggested that there was trouble in paradise – culminating in what transpired early Tuesday morning.
Ultimately, three very specific things ended up changing the trajectory of Newton’s relationship with the Patriots.
“There wasn’t just one reason that Cam Newton is gone. It was a combination of at least three,” reported Adam Beasley of the Pro Football Network. “I’m told: Mac Jones’ emergence, Newton’s vaccination stance (which caused a bit of a stir behind the scenes) and Cam’s uninspiring performance this summer.”
Jones played 107 snaps in the preseason, the most of any Patriots quarterback. In that time he went 36-of-52 for 389 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions.
Newton, meanwhile, finished the preseason 14-of-21 for 162 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 31, 2021
Last year, with Newton leading them, the Patriots became something of a laughing stock. At one point, opposing teams were openly ridiculing Belichick over how terrible their offense was. Memories of that were no doubt still fresh when today’s decision was made.
In getting rid of Newton, the Patriots indicated that a new era was beginning. How will that new era ultimately turn out for them? Time will tell.