In a move that has surprised some NFL fans and seemed inevitable to others, the New England Patriots have released quarterback Cam Newton just before the start of the 2021 NFL season.

The roster move means rookie Mac Jones will be the starting quarterback for the Patriots in their Week 1 game against the Miami Dolphins.

Newton had started New England’s final preseason game, playing two series alongside the Patriot’s starters. However, Jones played the bulk of the game after that. Newton went 2-of-5 for 10 yards and an interception on the day. Newton did not speak to reporters following the game, however, and hasn’t since there was a COVID-19 protocol “misunderstanding” that led to him missing three practices before the game. Newton has strongly implied he is not currently vaccinated, though coach Bill Belichick said he had not violated any rules.

After showing flashes of the old Cam before fading down the stretch, Newton signed a one-year contract with the Patriots during the offseason. Tasked with replacing Tom Brady, Cam completed 66 percent (242-of-368) of his passes for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 549 yards and 12 touchdowns on 149 carries, a new team record for a QB.

However, the team drafted Mac Jones out of Alabama in the NFL Draft and clearly saw him as the future of the franchise. When Jones showed a lot of promise during the preseason, that seemed to be enough for Belichick and the front office to decide that the future is now.

Despite the fact that the move seemed inevitable at some point, there was a lot of shock surrounding the news that Newton had been released on Tuesday morning.

What’s next for Newton? There are plenty of NFL teams that would love to have him on the roster, even if it’s in a backup role. Newton’s legacy is already one that puts him in some lofty conversations and he brings a ton of experience with him. Hopefully, they don’t mind the “rap music.”

[Boston Globe]

About Sean Keeley

Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.