Cam Newton Says 'Please Don't Feel Sorry for Me' on IG After Patriots ReleaseAugust 31, 2021
Quarterback Cam Newton posted a statement on his Instagram story after the New England Patriots released him Tuesday as part of their final roster cuts ahead of the 2021 NFL season.
Newton's departure leaves rookie Mac Jones, the No. 15 overall pick in this year's draft, as the Pats' starter heading into their Week 1 home game against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 12.
The 2015 NFL MVP struggled as the Patriots' starter last season. While he completed 65.8 percent of his passes, he threw for only 2,657 yards in 15 games with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He did add 592 rushing yards and 12 scores on the ground.
Newton, 32, showed some promising signs throughout training camp and the preseason. However, it's still unclear whether he'll ever to return to the upper echelon of quarterbacks after dealing with shoulder and foot injuries during his final two years with the Carolina Panthers.
In turn, the Patriots decided to hand the offense to Jones right out of the gate.
The 22-year-old Florida native is coming off a tremendous final college season. He led Alabama to a national championship while throwing 41 touchdowns and only four interceptions in 13 games.
It's impossible to get a full read based solely on preseason performance, but Jones did perform well by completing 69 percent of his throws for 389 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
"I've gotten a lot opportunities to play and I can improve on everything that I want to improve on," Jones told reporters after the Patriots' preseason finale. "I think I've made progress. But honestly it's just the only thing that matters is today, and then tomorrow I'll focus on tomorrow."
Newton's track record as a three-time Pro Bowl selection should lead him to generate interest as a free agent. NFL insider Josina Anderson reported the Cowboys "will do their due diligence" on the quarterback.
One factor that could work against him is his vaccination status, which played a role in his exit from New England, per Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network. Having a backup signal-caller facing more stringent testing requirements and protocols comes with risk.
If Newton isn't interested in a backup role, he might have to wait for injuries to arise during the regular season to see whether a starting job may come available.