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New England Patriots release QB Cam Newton

The quarterback battle in New England ended abruptly Tuesday when the Patriots released veteran Cam Newton, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, per a source.

The move means the starting job belongs to rookie first-round pick Mac Jones.

Both quarterbacks performed well in the preseason, although Jones got the lion's share of action during games. Newton missed a week leading up to the club's final preseason game after a misunderstanding of COVID-19 protocols forced him off the practice field and into the NFL's five-day re-entry cadence. Coach Bill Belichick declined to say, at the time, whether Newton's absence had damaged his chances of winning the job.

Jones was the No. 15 overall pick of the draft out of Alabama.

The Patriots also released longtime backup QB Brian Hoyer on Tuesday as the team trimmed down to a 53-man roster. Currently, Jones and Jarrett Stidham are the only QBs on the Patriots roster.

Interest in Newton around the league figures to be high. The 2015 NFL MVP started 15 games for the Patriots last year, his first in New England.

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