Aug 29, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) looks on during the first half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Newton: Release from Pats ‘absolutely’ caught him by surprise

Free-agent quarterback Cam Newton didn’t hold back while addressing his release from the New England Patriots.

“Did it catch me by surprise being released? Absolutely,” Newton said Friday morning in a 45-minute YouTube Live video in which he sat down with his father, Cecil, at Westlake High School in Atlanta.

Newton, 32, said he believed he would have been cut from the Patriots regardless of his five-day absence due to a COVID-19 protocol “misunderstanding” last month.

“During that time, I started seeing signs of change,” Newton said. “… Do I think this would have happened without me being away from the team for five days? Honestly, yes. It was going to happen. Did it help ease the decision? Yes.”

Newton said he “absolutely” would have accepted a backup role behind Mac Jones, however he questioned whether the rookie first-round pick would have been comfortable with that situation.

“Let me be honest with you. If they would have asked me, ‘Cam, we’re going to give the team to Mac, you’re going to be second-string; we expect you to be everything and some to guide him throughout this tenure,’ I would have said, ‘Absolutely,’” Newton said. “But listen, the truth of the matter is this: He would have been uncomfortable.”

The Patriots, who signed Newton to a one-year deal worth close to $14 million to return to the team in 2021, released him Aug. 31.

Speculation swirled that the Patriots cut Newton because he wasn’t vaccinated against COVID-19. Coach Bill Belichick said last week that played no role in the decision to release Newton.

As the Patriots starter last season, Newton — the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player — completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 2,657 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He ran for 592 yards with 12 scores.

–Field Level Media

Aug 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Mac Jones vaults in OROY odds, leaving sportsbooks exposed

Mac Jones immediately became one of the favorites to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors after the New England Patriots released veteran quarterback Cam Newton on Tuesday.

Jones’ OROY odds shortened significantly at numerous sportsbooks.

He went from +800 to +450 at PointsBet, moving past fellow first-round quarterbacks Zach Wilson (Jets), Justin Fields (Bears) and Trey Lance (49ers), and behind only Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence.

OROY Odds (PointsBet):
–Trevor Lawrence +350
–Zach Wilson +600
–Justin Fields +700
–Trey Lance +750

Jones’ OROY odds shortened from +1200 to +500 at BetMGM and from +700 to +300 at WynnBet.

The sudden movement also makes Jones one of the biggest liabilities for sportsbooks in the OROY market.

He is the third-biggest liability at BetMGM to win the award behind Wilson and Steelers running back Najee Harris. Jones is currently backed by 9.1 percent (sixth-most) of the tickets and 17.8 percent (second-most) of the handle at the book.

Jones also saw his NFL MVP odds shorten from +25000 to +8000 at BetMGM, while his odds to lead the NFL in passing yards moved from +20000 to +5000. He is also being offered at +2500 to lead the league in interceptions.

PointsBet Director of Communications Patrick Eichner told Field Level Media that “Jones is currently our 4th biggest liability for OROY but that will change quickly…”

The former Alabama star was selected 15th by New England in the 2021 NFL Draft. He was the fifth quarterback off the board behind Lawrence (No. 1 overall), Wilson (No. 2), Lance (No. 3) and Fields (No. 11).

What wasn’t impacted significantly by Newton’s release was the Patriots’ odds.

Eichner said “the Patriots have not seen any moves as a team,” while New England’s Over/Under win total of 9 at WynnBet shifted from -145 to -150.

Newton, who struggled in the Patriots’ preseason finale after being sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols, saw his NFL MVP odds lengthen from +8000 to +20000 at BetMGM. With no starting job in sight, Newton’s odds to lead the league in passing went from +5000 to +50000 while his odds of leading the league in picks lengthened from +2500 to +10000.

–Field Level Media

Aug 29, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) looks on during the first half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Patriots release Cam Newton, tab Mac Jones as starting QB

The New England Patriots have released quarterback Cam Newton and turned the starting job over to Mac Jones, according to multiple reports Tuesday.

As the Patriots starter last season, Newton — the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player — completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 2,657 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He ran for 592 yards with 12 scores.

But the 2011 top overall pick lost a training camp battle against Jones to keep the job, hindered in part by landing in the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

Newton started Sunday’s preseason finale against the New York Giants, but completed just 2 of 5 passes for 10 yards and left after two drives. His final pass was an interception that ended the second drive.

Jones took over and went 10-for-14 for 156 yards with a touchdown. Jones completed 36 of 52 passes for 389 yards over the three preseason games.

Brian Hoyer will be Jones’ backup for the Sept. 12 season opener against the Miami Dolphins in Foxborough, Mass.

–Field Level Media

Aug 19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) drops back to pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Pats frustrated with Cam Newton over hiatus

The New England Patriots are frustrated internally with quarterback Cam Newton’s decision to leave the team and subsequent five-day hiatus due to COVID-19 protocols, NFL Network reported Tuesday.

The team publicly referred to Newton’s situation as a “misunderstanding” of the league’s testing protocols Monday and coach Bill Belichick stood by that Tuesday.

However, there is a sentiment that Newton’s misstep could be an open door for rookie quarterback Mac Jones, according to NFL Network.

Belichick was asked Tuesday if Newton’s absence was a good opportunity for Jones.

“It is, yes,” Belichick responded. But that’s as committal as the coach would get when questioned another time about the situation.

“We’ll evaluate everything the way we always do, based on the information we have,” he added.

Newton is expected to return Thursday, giving Jones Tuesday plus Wednesday’s joint practice with the New York Giants to run with the first team.

The Patriots play their preseason finale Sunday vs. the Giants.

Newton on Saturday went to a “club-approved medical appointment that required him to leave the New England area,” the team said Monday. “Due to a misunderstanding about tests conducted away from NFL facilities, and as required by the NFL-NFLPA protocols, Cam will be subject to the five-day entry cadence process before returning to the facility.

Newton has refused to say whether he’s been vaccinated, but the situation seems to have exposed the fact that he hasn’t been since only unvaccinated players require daily testing.

That question was also put to Belichick, who was vague when asked if being unvaccinated puts Newton at a disadvantage.

“The league rules are the league rules,” he said. “We’ll be compliant with them. … Every team is dealing with the same situation.”

–Field Level Media

Aug 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones 10) throws the ball during a game against the Washington Football Team at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots QB Mac Jones wins prestigious award for academics

Rookie quarterback Mac Jones shouldn’t have any trouble deciphering the New England Patriots’ playbook.

On Thursday, Jones was named Academic All-American of the Year by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The award recognizes the top scholar-athlete in the nation without consideration of gender or sport.

The No. 15 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Patriots, Jones led Alabama to the College Football Playoff championship following the 2020 season, but he clearly excelled in the classroom, too.

Jones, who turns 23 on Sept. 5, earned his undergraduate degree in communication studies with an unblemished 4.0 grade-point average in December 2019. A year later, he completed his master’s degree in sport hospitality, also with a 4.0 GPA.

“Being an Academic All-American is something I’ve always dreamed of and it has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember,” Jones said in a news release. “Through hard work and help from close family, friends, teachers and mentors, I have long understood the importance of school, learning and leadership. Thank you to everyone who helped me along my academic journey.”

With the Patriots, Jones is vying with veteran Cam Newton for the No. 1 quarterback job. In his NFL debut on Aug. 12 in a preseason victory over the Washington Football Team, Jones completed 13 of 19 pass attempts for 87 yards.

–Field Level Media

Jul 28, 2021; Foxborough, MA, United States; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (50) watches New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick: Cam Newton is Patriots QB … for now

Veteran Cam Newton is the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots. At least for now.

That’s what coach Bill Belichick told reporters Saturday, reiterating the comments he made after the Patriots selected Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft in April.

Still, Belichick acknowledged he could change his viewpoint as training camp progresses in Foxborough, Mass.

“We’ll take a look at the whole situation,” Belichick said. “I don’t think you want to evaluate players at any position off one or two plays, or maybe a day. So from a consistency standpoint, that’s always important. And obviously production. So hopefully those things will be good, and I’m sure it will be a hard decision.”

Since training camp opened this week, Newton has taken the majority of the snaps, followed by Jones.

Newton, a former No. 1 overall draft pick and the 2015 NFL MVP with the Carolina Panthers, is in his second season with the Patriots. Brought in to fill the very big shoes of Tom Brady, Newton was 7-8 as a starter as the Patriots missed the playoffs for only the third time in 20 seasons. He completed 65.8 percent of his pass attempts for 2,657 yards and eight touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He added 12 touchdowns on 592 rushing yards.

Newton, 32, told reporters Friday that he knows his grip on the position isn’t secure.

“Ever since I’ve been here, there’s been a quarterback competition,” he said. “I think, in essence, that’s the underlying Patriot Way. Every position has a competition there, and quarterback is no different.”

–Field Level Media

Jun 15, 2021; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (50) participates in a drill during the New England Patriots mini camp at the New England Patriots practice complex. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots QB Mac Jones signs four-year rookie deal

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones on Tuesday signed his four-year, $15.6 million rookie contract which includes a fifth-year option.

It comes with a signing bonus of roughly $8.7 million, per NFL Network.

Jones, a two-time national title winner with the Crimson Tide, was the fifth quarterback chosen in the top 15 of this year’s NFL Draft.

In 13 games last season, Jones threw for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He was a backup in 2017 when Alabama also won the title.

Jones is part of a QB room with former Auburn signal-callers Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham as well as Brian Hoyer.

Newton re-signed with the Patriots after a disappointing 2020 with the team. Newton completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions and rushed for 592 yards and 12 scores.

The Patriots struggled through a 7-9 season in 2020 and missed the playoffs in their first year without superstar quarterback Tom Brady, who played for the team from 2000-19 and won six Super Bowls for New England.

–Field Level Media

Jun 15, 2021; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) participates in a drill during the New England Patriots mini camp at the New England Patriots practice complex. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Newton says no extra motivation from Mac Jones’ presence

Cam Newton says he understands.

When the Patriots drafted Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in the first round in April, many wondered if Newton would feel slighted as New England’s incumbent at the position.

Newton said he doesn’t see it that way.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “He was the right pick in my opinion. He was the best player available, and that’s what the NFL draft is for.”

Newton was speaking to the media for the first time since re-signing in March.

“As far as having any chip on the shoulder, you’re stating the obvious,” he added. “I don’t need too much to get myself going. It’s no disrespect to Mac. It’s no disrespect to (coach) Bill (Belichick) and his decision. I support it 110 percent, because you still have to do what’s right for the organization, for the long haul.”

Belichick said after the draft that Newton is the team’s quarterback, and Newton has taken the first-team reps so far in minicamp.

Newton has given the young quarterback the nickname “Mac and Cheese,” as Newton is wont to toss nicknames around for many teammates, and he said Jones is going through what every rookie does.

“Mac and Cheese, he’s pretty cool. He’s quiet. I think he’s trying to figure everybody out,” the 32-year-old former NFL Most Valuable Player said. “I’ve been there before. I’ve been a rookie and I’ve been a first-round pick, where so much is asked from you.

“He’s doing a great job with being everything that’s advertised — from a leadership perspective, he’s holding himself accountable. That’s all you can ask from a young player.”

With quarterbacks Jarret Stidham and Brian Hoyer also on the roster, Newton said every one of the four wants to be the starter, and he’s just happy he has more time to absorb the team’s intricate offense after not signing until July of last year.

“In the latter part of the season, it just caught up to me,” Newton said. “I was thinking too much. There just wasn’t enough hours in the day.

“You can’t simulate real, live bullets and that’s what it came down to.”

The Patriots struggled through a 7-9 season in 2020 and missed the playoffs in their first year without superstar quarterback Tom Brady, who played for the team from 2000-19 and won six Super Bowls for New England. He won his seventh Super Bowl championship last season after joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

–Field Level Media

Published Caption:  Patriots quarterback Cam Newton looks for a receiver in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon. [The Providence Journal / Kris Craig] Original Caption:  Patriots quarterback Cam Newton looks for a receiver in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon.

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Reports: Hand injury slows Patriots QB Cam Newton at practice

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton appeared to injure his right hand during the voluntary organized team activity, according to multiple reports Friday.

The training staff reportedly examined Newton’s hand halfway through the session and the former MVP did not return.

First-round draft pick Mac Jones, third-year player Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer took repetitions in Newton’s place.

Newton, 32, re-signed with the team on a one-year deal in March after going 7-8 and passing for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his first season with New England in 2020.

The Patriots selected Jones with the 15th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Jones, 22, passed for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions while leading Alabama to a national championship last season.

Stidham, 24, was drafted in the fourth round out of Auburn in 2019. He has completed 24 of 48 passes for 270 yards with two touchdowns and four picks in eight games (zero starts) over the past two seasons.

Hoyer, 35, is eying his third stint with New England after playing with the club from 2009-11 and 2017-18.

–Field Level Media