In the search to find an eventual long-term replacement for Tom Brady in New England, a new quarterback will get his chance.
The Patriots have released veteran passer Cam Newton, clearing the way for rookie first-round selection Mac Jones to be the Week 1 starter, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday.
Newton, who started last year in his lone season in New England, had been involved in a battle with Jones over the starting job throughout training camp. Newton, 32, had been inconsistent in camp and then was eventually forced to sit out five days and three practices after he was placed in the NFL’s COVID-19 list over what the team called a “misunderstanding” of the league’s rules.
In that time, Jones shined as he played most first-team reps in practice.
The Patriots selected Jones, 22, out of Alabama with the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft in April.
Newton now becomes a free agent and will be available to sign with any team. In his one season as a starter in New England, Newton completed 65.8% of his passes for 2,657 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions, while adding 592 rushing yards and 12 rushing scores.
The Patriots went 7-9 and missed the postseason for the first time since the 2008 season.