We already have one of the biggest headlines of the NFL season and the regular season hasn't even kicked off yet. Star quarterback Cam Newton was cut by the New England Patriots earlier today with the news reverberating across the league.
The reception was one of disbelief, even after considering how ruthless Bill Belichick can be with his decisions. But once the dust has settled, we can see why the head coach of the New England Patriots, and the de-facto general manager, decided to part ways with Cam Newton.
Mac Jones made Cam Newton redundant
In the annals of the New England Patriots' quarterbacks hall, perhaps no story is as illustrative of the way Bill Belichick operates than his decision to stick with Tom Brady after the injury to Drew Bledsoe.
Drew Bledsoe, then the starter, was not brought back into the first team even when fit after Tom Brady took charge. Belichick has always given form precedence over reputation, and in pre-season, Mac Jones was clearly better than Cam Newton.
So even though Cam Newton was the presumptive starter, he lost out on his place to Mac Jones over the pre-season. A good case in point is the last pre-season game against the New York Giants.
Cam Newton led the team on to the field and went 2-for-5 for 10 yards and one interception. Mac Jones, on the other hand, completed 10 out of 14 throws, put on 156 yards and led the team to a touchdown.
After that, there was no way Bill Belichick could have stuck with Cam Newton as the starter. It seems that Cam Newton did not take kindly to the news and decided to jump ship rather than be a backup to a rookie.
Did Cam Newton's personal decisions pull the plug?
Another issue that would have definitely come into consideration was the fact that Cam Newton missed five days of practice because of COVID protocols as an unvaccinated player. If he has yet to change his mind, there is always the possibility that such issues can occur again, which can have a detrimental impact on the team if they are unable to have reps with the starting quarterback.
In fact, there was palpable frustration within the New England Patriots because of the situation. While the decision to cut him then might have been tough, Mac Jones' performance just oiled the wheels and made it easy for the organization to cut Cam Newton.