The New England Patriots dropped a bombshell piece of news on Tuesday, as reports revealed that the team will release Cam Newton ahead of this afternoon’s final cut deadline. The (very brief) Newton era is over and rookie Mac Jones will start for the Patriots in Week 1.
Already, additional details have started to trickle out about New England’s decision.
Pro Football Talk revealed a telling facet of the Newton release soon after the first reports emerged on Tuesday. Apparently, the Patriots did not try to trade the 32-year-old quarterback before releasing him.
That report is fairly revealing, not only of how New England viewed Newton at the end of his tenure, but also what the rest of the league must think about the former MVP. The Patriots clearly didn’t want to keep the 32-year-old as a back-up for Jones for whatever reason and also didn’t think they could get any sort of substantial trade return from other teams.
As a result, New England parted ways with Newton completely, which will allow him to try and find another club in free agency before the 2021 season kicks off in just over a week.
Per source, the Patriots did not try to trade Cam Newton before deciding to cut him.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 31, 2021
The reason why the Patriots decided to completely let go of Newton remains unclear. However, it’s likely a combination of factors that led Bill Belichick and company to make the call.
Newton missed multiple days of practice last week due to COVID-19 protocols after he found himself embroiled in a strange situation due to his vaccination status. With the former MVP out, Jones stepped up in a major way and earned most of the first-team reps ahead of the Patriots final preseason game against the New York Giants. It’s possible that the starting job was decided during those couple days.
New England could’ve kept Newton as the back-up, but Belichick clearly felt strongly enough to hand over those duties completely to Brian Hoyer. Fans will have to wait and see if the Patriots leadership reveals anymore about that decision.
A couple of factors in play with releasing Cam Newton rather than keeping him on as the Patriots’ backup: His command of the locker room, and his vaccination status. Neither make him an ideal choice as a backup behind a rookie QB.
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) August 31, 2021
No matter what Belichick’s reasoning is for letting go of Newton, the Patriots will now enter a completely new era. There might be growing pains in New England, but the organization ultimately feels like Jones gives them the best chance to win.
Time will tell if they’re right.
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