NFL: New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Newton's tenure in New England has come to an end. On the day all 32 NFL teams must shrink their rosters down to 53 players, the Patriots have reportedly elected to release the veteran quarterback, signaling that first-round rookie Mac Jones is now in line to be the team's starter to begin the 2021 regular season. 

On the surface, the news comes as quite a surprise. After all, Newton had received the bulk of first-team reps throughout the summer and had started all three of the Patriots' preseason contests. He also looked much more comfortable within New England's offense than he did a year ago. Alas, the Patriots are beginning a new era with Jones now under center and Newton is once again looking for a new home somewhere in the NFL

In the aftermath of his release, here are a trio landing spots that could make sense for the former league MVP. 

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Houston Texans

If Newton's top priority is to be a starter -- he said earlier this year that "there aren't 32 guys better than me" -- somewhere in the league, his best bet may be the Houston Texans. With Deshaun Watson's status in flux, the path to QB1 is attainable. Currently, the Texans have Tyrod Taylor and rookie Davis Mills on the roster, which are two quarterbacks that Newton should be able to successfully beat out for the job. Of course, the Texans aren't expected to be a competitive football team this season, so Newton's chances of playing for a serious contender would be wildly diminished if he signed on with the Texans, but it's arguably his best route to go down if he simply wants to start. Anywhere else and he's likely banking on an injury to leap up the depth chart. 

Washington Football Team

The connection here is pretty obvious. Washington head coach Ron Rivera was with Newton during their shared days with the Carolina Panthers and nearly won a Super Bowl together. While times have certainly changed, Newton could be a solid addition to Washington's quarterback room that's headlined by Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke. Fitzpatrick is going to be the starter to begin the regular season, but Newton could be looked at as a quality backup in the event that Fitzpatrick either gets hurt or is not playing up to par at some point during the year. 

Newton could also be used as a factor at the goal-line for Washington -- or really any team throughout the league -- paired alongside second-year back Antonio Gibson. With New England last season, Newton totaled 592 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. Off those dozen touchdowns, 11 came inside the 10-yard line. If Rivera is looking to bolster his red zone offense with an old friend as they try to repeat as NFC East champions, this could be an intriguing fit. 

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Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott is the man in Dallas, so Newton would need to be alright with simply serving as the backup. Throughout the summer, Cowboys backup quarterbacks haven't instilled a lot of confidence and the position looks quite thin at the moment. Jerry Jones did confirm on Tuesday that the team is set to enter the 2021 season with Cooper Rush as the primary backup to Prescott, but you can easily make the case that Newton is an upgrade at that position especially when you account for his rushing ability. According to CBS Sports Cowboys insider Patrik Walker, Dallas is not ruling out a Newton pursuit "at the moment" and will be evaluated/discussed "in the same breath" as other quarterbacks that are on their radar. 

Again, Newton will likely search every avenue to become a starting quarterback first, but Dallas is a fascinating fallback option if a backup role is the only thing available to him at the moment.