New England Patriots: 3 surprising moves on cutdown day

Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots surprise move No. 1: Cam Newton gets cut

The Patriots sent shockwaves around the NFL this morning when they released presumed starting quarterback Cam Newton. Newton had seemingly had the inside track at the starting job all offseason long, and even with a lackluster final performance against the Giants a couple nights ago, he still seemed the most likely candidate to be the starting QB when Week 1 rolled around.

And then out of nowhere, Newton was cut. It was figured that even if Mac Jones won the quarterback competition, Newton would stick around as his backup, but that isn’t the case here. The Patriots had been waiting all offseason long to announce their starting quarterback, and by releasing Newton they sent a loud message to the rest of the league that Jones is their guy.

That left fans of not only the Patriots, but the rest of the league grappling with the decision. Everyone knew Jones had made major strides this offseason, but not many people thought it was to the point where he would actually be the Week 1 starter. Not only did Jones accomplish that though, he simply booted Newton right off the roster too, leaving just him and Brian Hoyer as the only active quarterbacks on the team.

In a way, the move makes a lot of sense. If you are going to go with Jones, there’s no reason to not go all in. Belichick made sure there wasn’t a shred of doubt that Jones was his guy, and moving on from Newton is clearly part of the plan.

This should do wonders for Jones. One can only assume it’s quite the confidence booster when you come into camp and not only win the starting job, but completely usurp the presumed starter of his position. Newton not being around ensures this is Jones’ position, even if he struggles, and that should give him the confidence to play to the best of his abilities.

In another sense, there was really no point in having Newton stick around and back up Jones. Both quarterbacks have two completely different playstyles, meaning they would have to completely switch game plans if they decided to replace a struggling Jones with Newton in the middle of a game. That would be worthwhile doing with Jones considering he has room to grow and develop, but for an aging veteran such as Newton, there is really no point.

Make no mistake about it though; cutting Newton is a huge risk by Belichick and the coaching staff. Sure, Newton wasn’t fantastic last season or even most of the preseason, but you knew what you were getting with him. Jones on the other hand was superb all camp long, but you still don’t know how he’s going to perform when the competition ramps up.

Next. Mac Jones won the QB job by outplaying Newton. dark

But it’s become clear throughout training camp and preseason that Jones was the best option for the Patriots to succeed this season, and starting Newton would only delay his development. Belichick decided to not wait around and give Jones his shot to succeed now. It makes sense; this team has a solid veteran cast surrounding him, and they have the potential makings of a playoff team if everything goes right for them.

Newton getting released was the most surprising move around the league, not just in New England. But it became increasingly clear throughout camp that Jones was the better quarterback, and ultimately it was a move the coaching staff became more and more comfortable with as camp went on. While Pats fan may be rightfully upset with Newton’s abrupt exit from New England, they should also be excited for what’s to come in the future with Mac Jones under center.