Report: Patriots release Cam Newton, name Mac Jones starting QB

Cam Newton's time with the New England Patriots appears to be at an end.

In a surprising turn of events, the Patriots have reportedly released Newton ahead of Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET roster cut deadline.

According to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe, that means 2021 first-round quarterback Mac Jones will open the season as New England's starter.

Newton opened the door, Jones walked through it

This cut was unexpected. Newton, who spent just one season with the Pats, signed a one-year contract in March and had looked decent in the preseason (14-of-21 for 162 yards with a touchdown and an interception). Several analysts even said they'd be surprised if Newton didn't begin the season as New England's starting QB.

However, things took a turn last week when Newton had to miss several days of practice after a COVID-19 testing mishap/misunderstanding. That opened the door for Jones, who got to spend those days taking first-team reps and showing the coaching staff how much he has progressed over the spring and summer. In his three preseason games, Jones completed 36 of 52 passes for 388 yards and one touchdown.

Jones looked good enough that head coach Bill Belichick said that he was considering a quarterback platoon between Newton and Jones. It appears that Belichick was impressed enough by Jones to let Newton go and move forward with a rookie QB.

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Details of Newton's release are a mystery

It's unclear how Newton's reported release came about. It's possible he could have asked for it, but he didn't allude to that in his post-release Instagram story.

I really appreciate all the love and support during this time but I must say... Please don't feel sorry for me!! #imGOOD

The Patriots haven't yet confirmed Newton's release, even though he essentially acknowledged it on Instagram. Once the Patriots announce, it's possible they could reveal additional details.

According to the Globe, Newton's one-year contract with the Pats had a maximum value of $13.5 million, but only $3.5 million was guaranteed.