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Cam Newton released, it's officially Mac Jones SZN

With the NFL preseason now over, we're starting to get to final cutdowns, and we got a big one on Tuesday morning, as the Patriots have cut Cam Newton.

Which clears the way for Mac Jones to be the starter.

On one hand, the news is obviously surprising. Most people believed that Cam would be given at least a few games to start the regular season before Bill Belichick threw his rookie quarterback to the wolves. Keep in mind, the Patriots have Tampa Bay - and whoever is playing quarterback for them under center - in Week 4, and the last thing you want is to be embarrassed.

Cam probably gives you a better chance of that game being competitive than a rookie quarterback in his fourth career start.

On the other hand, it probably shouldn't be that surprising at all. If only because - as Aaron brought up this morning - fair or not, Cam being unvaccinated probably at least played a role in him getting cut.

As Aaron explained, it isn't political or a pro-vax thing.

But all fall, - fair or not - we've known that vaccination status would matter to coaches and teams as they made their final cutdowns. Maybe not for stars like Lamar Jackson or established starters like Kirk Cousins. But it would for the guys on the fringes, say, a veteran trying to hold onto a starting quarterback job against an up and coming rookie

Well, as we learned last week, Cam is in fact unvaccinated. And when it comes to the back-up - the guy who called be called on at any minute to lead the team - you need to know that he's available. As we learned last week with Cam - when he missed four days of practice - we all know that unvaccinated players are under a completely different set of protocols, test much more regularly and that much more likely to have to miss time for testing positive or contact tracing.

You can argue it, but it's true.

Once it became clear that Mac Jones was capable of being the starter, Cam Newton became no different than a back-up corner or safety, and that much more expandable.

It also doesn't change the fact that when Cam missed practice, Mac Jones had to go out and earn the starting quarterback job, which he clearly did. He balled out against the Giants, completing 25 of 28 passes, including 18 in a row at one point. Proving that - for all the pre-draft hubub about how unfair it was that he was so high on draft boards - the kid could play.

Then again, we probably shouldn't be surprised that a kid who set an NCAA completion percentage record, against the toughest schedule in college football history might actually be good.

So now it's officially Mac Jones SZN.

You've been warned.

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