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Patriots cut QB Cam Newton, rookie Mac Jones expected to start

Patriots cut QB Cam Newton, rookie Mac Jones expected to start
Cam Newton (pictured) lost the New England Patriots quarterback competition to rookie Mac Jones and is now free to sign with another team. File Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 31 (UPI) -- The New England Patriots released Cam Newton on Tuesday, clearing the way for rookie Mac Jones to be the team's starting quarterback in 2021.

Sources told NFL Network, ESPN and the Boston Globe about Newton's release and Jones' promotion on the depth chart. Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, started 15 games last season for the Patriots. He signed a one-year contract with the team this off-season.

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The Patriots selected Jones with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jones led Alabama to a national championship in January. He thew 41 touchdown passes and just four interceptions in his final season with the Crimson Tide.

Newton completed 14 of 21 passes for 162 yards, one score and one interception in three appearances this preseason. Jones completed 36 of 52 passes for 389 yards, one score and no interceptions in three preseason games.

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Newton missed the week of practice before the Patriots' final preseason game due to what the team called a "misunderstanding" about COVID-19 tests "conducted away from NFL facilities."

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Patriots coach Bill Belichick said last week that Newton's absence provided an opportunity for Jones to impress coaches with his play.

The Patriots host the Miami Dolphins in their first regular season game at 4:25 p.m. EDT Sept. 12 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

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The Dolphins tied for the league lead with 18 interceptions last season. Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard hauled in a league-high 10 interceptions in 2020. The Dolphins tied the Denver Broncos for fewest touchdown the passes allowed in the AFC last season.

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