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.
In other cut day moves:
New York Jets QB Josh Johnson
The veteran journeyman’s stay with Gang Green was a short one, with the team releasing him less than a month after he was signed. The job backing up rookie Zach Wilson now is set to go to Mike White.
Green Bay Packers WR Equanimeous St. Brown
There will be no NFC North rivalry between St. Brown and his brother, Lions rookie wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, after the elder of the two was waived by the team Tuesday. St. Brown caught seven passes in 12 games last year.
Washington Football Team RB Peyton Barber
Barber tallied four touchdowns last season as a backup to Antonio Gibson, but the sixth-year veteran appears to have been leapfrogged by undrafted free agent Jaret Patterson, who was one of the preseason’s biggest standouts. Washington also cut 2020 fourth-round pick Antonio Gandy-Golden.
Detroit Lions LB Jahlani Tavai
A second-round pick out of Hawaii in 2019, Tavai was taken ahead of the likes of Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown and Seattle Seahawks wide receiver, among others. He started 10 games for Detroit last year and received a positive review from linebackers coach Mark DeLeone, who said the third-year player was in “a really good position right now” to make the roster. Ultimately, however, Tavai couldn’t latch on with the new regime of first-year general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell.
Miami Dolphins C Matt Skura
Despite signing the veteran blocker to a one-year deal in March, Miami is already moving on from Skura as it reshuffles its offensive line. The Dolphins also parted with linebacker Benardrick McKinney, whom the team acquired in a trade with the Houston Texans this offseason.
Dallas Cowboys QBs Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci
The Cowboys appear to have settled their backup quarterback battle, keeping Cooper Rush while parting with Gilbert and DiNucci, who each started a game last year when Dak Prescott was injured.
New Orleans Saints RB Devonta Freeman
The former Atlanta Falcons standout won’t get a chance to jumpstart his career with an old NFC South rival, as Freeman didn’t make the cut in New Orleans after signing with the Saints earlier in August.