Bill Belichick declined to speak about any specific roster cut shortly after the Patriots released quarterback Cam Newton. Newton, the Patriots' starter during the 2020 season, was the NFL's most notable cut. Newton has been replaced by rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who will be the first Patriots rookie quarterback to start in Week 1 since Drew Bledsoe did so in 1993.
Belichick opened up about Newton during his appearance Tuesday on WEEI's The Greg Hill Show. The longtime Patriots coach once again praised Newton, the league's MVP back in 2015.
"It's always difficult when you have to reduce your roster," Belichick said. "A lot of guys that worked hard. A lot of guys that performed well and had either good years for us, or good careers. I respect all those things, but each year is its own year and I have to do what I feel like is best for the football team and so regards to every decision, that's what I try to do. It's always tough to tell guys who have worked hard and have given you all they had that you're not able to keep them.
"I have nothing but positive thoughts and feelings for Cam. He came in here, he worked hard. He gave us everything we had. Right now, our future is going to be Mac [Jones] at quarterback, and that is where we're going to go."
Belichick is no stranger to making tough decisions at the quarterback position. In 2001, he stuck with then second-year quarterback Tom Brady as his starter after Brady played well in relief of Bledsoe, who missed two months of the season after suffering a severe chest injury. The '01 Patriots would not lose another game following Belichick's announcement, as Brady helped lead New England to its first of six Super Bowl titles.
While everyone in New England hopes that Jones' story plays out similarly, the question regarding Newton continues to be where he will get his next opportunity. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora recently named the Saints, 49ers, Falcons, Steelers and Buccaneers as the five most intriguing teams to land Newton, who rushed for 12 scores while completing nearly 66% of his throws during his lone season with the Patriots.
The Mac Jones era in New England has begun following the stunning release of Cam Newton. How will the rookie fare this season and what does it mean for the rest of the Patriots' players? Download the CBS Sports app to find out! Plus, get insight from our resident Patriots insider, Tyler Sullivan. If you already have the CBS Sports app, make sure to pick the Patriots as your favorite team for up-to-the-minute news.