FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The Cam Newton era has come to an end in Foxboro.
The quarterback was among the 21 players cut by the Patriots Tuesday, which was the deadline for teams to reach the required 53-man roster.
The move, which was first reported Tuesday morning by the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride, cleared a path to the starting role for first-round draft pick Mac Jones.
Prior to the team confirming that Newton was among the cuts, the quarterback hinted at it in an Instagram post, saying: “I really appreciate all the love and support during this time but I must say … please don’t feel sorry for me!! I’m good.”
Among the other players released was kicker Nick Folk, indicating the team is putting their faith in rookie Quinn Nordin, along with backup QB Brian Hoyer, TE Matt LaCosse, DB Myles Bryant, OL James Ferentz and WR Kristian Wilkerson.
In the team’s three preseason games, Jones completed 69% of his passes (36 of 52) for 389 yards while Newton competed 66% (14 of 21) for 162 yards as they competed for the starting position. Each had one touchdown.
Head coach Bill Belichick, who was characteristically unforthcoming about which quarterback would start Week 1, made no mention of Newton’s status with the team during a news conference Tuesday morning.
A manager at the Patriots Pro Shop at Gillette Stadium said they’re currently out of men’s sizes for Jones’ jersey after fans flocked there to buy them in response to the news.
Newton, 32, was first signed by the Patriots to a one-year deal in late June 2020, then was given a one-year extension earlier this year. Coming off an injury-plagued season in which he only played in two games for the Carolina Panthers, the 2015 MVP hoped for a fresh start in New England, but never seemed to settle into the Patriots’ system.
In the 15 games Newton started (he missed the Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs after testing positive for COVID-19) he had some of the lowest passing numbers of his career, though he did punch in 12 rushing touchdowns.
The Patriots finished with a record of 7-9, marking their first losing season since 2000, as well as the first time missing the playoffs since 2008.
The Patriots will host the Miami Dolphins to start the regular season on Sunday, Sept. 12, meaning Jones will go head-to-head with his former Alabama teammate Tua Tagovailoa.
Jones, who turns 23 next week, took over the starting role for the Crimson Tide during his redshirt sophomore season in 2019 after Tagovailoa was sidelined by an injury.
The following season, Jones led the team to a national championship, completing more than 77% of his passes for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns.
Additionally on Tuesday, the Patriots reportedly placed CB Stephon Gilmore on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List, meaning he’ll be out for at least the first six weeks of the season.