The Patriots released former MVP Cam Newton today, opting for Tall Guy With An Arm Mac Jones instead. This would ordinarily be the sad story of an extremely gifted player who had his career deteriorate because of injuries, as well as raising questions about why he isn’t good enough to take a role as a tablet holder ahead of Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham. But personally I‘m feeling about as sentimental about this as Bill Belichick:
Newton missed time during OTAs with a hand injury, then again during training camp because of a break in COVID-19 protocols that required him — because he is unvaccinated — to stay away from the team, frustrating some within the organization.
Howe: Absolutely. There was plenty of organizational frustration last week when Newton was back in the COVID-19 protocols, and the Patriots knew that could happen again at a moment’s notice if he remained unvaccinated and was deemed a close contact.
By that standard alone, there would be a legitimate concern on a daily basis the Patriots could converge upon the facility and find out their starting QB is out for a week.
This is why the NFL’s protocols are the next best thing to outright mandates — it creates the right incentives for players and organizations alike. The good news for Newton is that the starting job for Bishop Sycamore might be open.
…speaking of QBs whose careers are in rapid freefall and refuse to get vaccinated: