One Tuesday after the New England Patriots went forward without Cam Newton at the 53-man roster deadline, head coach Bill Belichick reflected on the quarterback’s release during his appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”
“It’s always difficult when you have to reduce your roster. A lot of guys that worked hard, a lot of guys that performed well and had either good years for us or good careers,” Belichick said. “I respect all those things. But each year is its own year, and I have to do what I feel is best for the football team. With regards to every decision, that’s what I try to do. But it’s always tough to tell guys that’ve worked hard and given you all they had that you’re not able to keep them.”
After going 7-8 as New England’s starter and captain last campaign, Newton re-signed in March on a one-year contract featuring $3.5 million guaranteed. The No. 15 overall draft investment in Alabama quarterback Mac Jones followed in April.
“I have nothing but positive thoughts and feelings for Cam,” added Belichick. “He came in here, he worked hard, he gave us everything he had. Right now, our future is going to be Mac at quarterback, so that’s where we’re going to go.”
Newton went 14-of-21 passing for 162 yards with one touchdown and one interception through three preseason starts in August. He stayed in for seven offensive drives.
Belichick was asked whether any consideration was given to retaining the 32-year-old as a backup for the regular season.
“Yeah, there’s always options, and a lot of different things that you give, especially at this time of the year with so many players available before they all hit the practice squad,” he told WEEI. “But in the end, we did what we felt was best.”
New England hosts the Miami Dolphins for a 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff Sunday at Gillette Stadium. And as Jones nears his official debut, the 23-year-old rookie stands as the lone member of the active roster’s depth chart.
The Patriots signed veteran quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Garrett Gilbert to the practice squad at its formation last week. Jarrett Stidham, who underwent back surgery at the beginning of training camp, begins the fall on physically unable to perform.