Did the New England Patriots play mind games with the rest of the NFL yet again?
With their quarterback situation unsolved, they were considering two options coming into the 2021 NFL Draft.
First, they could trade up with the Atlanta Falcons for the No. 4 pick in exchange for multiple draft choices.
Selecting that high would guarantee them of getting a top quarterback prospect like Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, or Trey Lance.
Second, they could re-acquire Jimmy Garoppolo from the San Francisco 49ers.
But while none of these possibilities materialized, it looks like they pulled off a master stroke by getting Alabama quarterback Mac Jones without giving up anything.
— Sava (@MiNUfoodsCEO) August 25, 2021
Experts and spectators alike have nothing but praise for the poise and gamesmanship of the rookie play-caller.
However, there was still a consensus that Cam Newton will get the nod as the team’s starter as the 2021 season starts.
Aside from hoping to see an improved Newton, the former league MVP isn’t doing bad during the preseason as well.
Sadly, a recent misunderstanding between him and the team may cost him his spot on the depth chart.
Newton Will Be Out For A While
Could this misinterpretation break Newton’s momentum?
He is doing well after two preseason games with 12 completions for 152 passing yards and a touchdown.
But he can only return to team facility as early as August 26 after having a different interpretation of the rules that the NFL and the Players Association agreed to.
According to the Patriots official statement, Newton was approved to make a medical appointment outside the New England area.
Newton did get daily COVID-19 tests which all went negative.
However, he will be subject to a five-day cadence process before returning because of tests done away from NFL facilities.
Per sources, there is a level of frustration internally with the Cam Newton situation. One important member of the organization believes this has "opened" a window of opportunity for rookie Mac Jones. The team practices today and then with the NYG tomorrow b4 Newton can return.
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) August 24, 2021
This is where the misunderstanding becomes unclear because the team did not specify the grounds.
It’s possible that he did not get a Mesa test which the league requires or skipped a daily test.
If it’s the latter, he will be subject to a $50,000 fine by the league.
While that part of the story is hazy, it’s highly possible that Newton remains unvaccinated at this point.
As per NFL-NFLPA protocols, unvaccinated players and officials must undergo daily COVID tests.
Meanwhile, vaccinated people are not subject to travel restrictions and must take the test every 14 days only.
With Newton sidelined for a while, Jones can stamp his case to be the Patriots’ starter.
Mac Has The Patriots’ Back
New England’s third preseason game will be on August 29 against the New York Giants.
Newton will be back in the facility by then but it remains to be seen whether Bill Belichick will let him play.
Therefore, Jones can continue to build on his impressive preseason so far.
In their first game against the Washington Football Team, the Florida native completed 13 passes for 87 yards.
A week later, the Patriots remained perfect after Jones finished with 13 completions for 146 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles.
More than the numbers, Jones exemplifies composure and command every time he takes the field.
Mac Jones with two straight drives in team drills, ends each one with a beautiful TD pass. Comes off the field to high-fives from his teammates and a fist bump from McDaniels. You can see the confidence growing all around
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) August 24, 2021
Another impressive outing against the Giants may tip the scales for him to be the Patriots’ starter in Week 1 versus the Miami Dolphins.
Likewise, the stain of Newton’s actions will cause Belichick to give him some reprimand by staying on the bench.
When that happens and he does well, the Patriots will have pulled off another major coup that can make them playoff contenders again.