The New England Patriots Made a Mistake Releasing Cam Newton
"That's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off."
That iconic Dodgeball line ran through my head as I read that the New England Patriots released quarterback Cam Newton. The news broke this morning, as teams across the National Football League slim down their rosters to the final product, after which 53 players will embark on the 2021 season.
Newton was embroiled in a competition for the Patriots' starting job with rookie Mac Jones, whom the Patriots drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Jones impressed at multiple different junctures during camp, while Newton was forced to miss time due to a "misunderstanding" of league COVID-19 protocols.
Jones has emerged the victor, but Newton is now left jobless, and that decision is one I strongly disagree with.
Charlie presented a very solid hypothesis on our show today: Cam Newton may not have appreciated losing the starting QB job, which might have led Bill Belichick to pull the trigger and release him. That said, that's one hypothesis of many, and Newton remains cut either way.
I do not understand this move for the New England Patriots, plain and simple. Now, I would've been comfortable with either QB winning the starting position. Jones performed well, but he's raw, and Newton brings a number of years' worth of experience to the table. At the end of the day, Newton winning the battle wouldn't have been that big of a surprise.
That said, now you enter the season with Mac Jones, Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham as their quarterbacks. Does that give you a lot of comfort? If I were a Patriots fan, that QB room would make me extremely nervous.
When you have a rookie quarterback, it's wise to have a bit of insurance on your roster. Keeping a veteran presence on the roster to mentor the young arm, while also serving as a competent back-up that could play at a moment's notice, seems like a wise decision to me. If Mac Jones were to get hurt or, the more likely scenario, struggle in his first year as a professional, having Brian Hoyer to turn to is not an ideal spot in which to find yourself.
This may not be the last move that Bill Belichick and the Patriots make, and for the sake of Mac Jones and the sanity of the fans, I hope it's not.