In a surprise move on cutdown day, the New England Patriots released quarterback Cam Newton Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Newton, a former first overall pick and the 2015 NFL MVP, spent 2020 with the Patriots. He played 15 games and threw for 8 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, adding 592 rushing yards and 12 scores on the ground. He averaged 17.9 fantasy points per game and finished as QB16. His release basically guarantees rookie first-rounder Mac Jones the starting job for the Patriots in Week 1.

Patriots release Cam Newton, Fantasy Impact

Fantasy analysis: Well, this was unexpected. It was only a matter of time until Jones took over for Newton as the Patriots starter, but there was still a reasonable expectation Newton could start in Week 1, even as Jones had an impressive preseason. Even if Jones took over, there appeared to be enough value in Newton that he would be a high-end backup. Instead, the Patriots appear set to roll with Jones as No. 1 and Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer as the backups.

Jones isn’t likely to offer much as a rusher, so his fantasy upside is limited to start his career. But this move probably helps other Patriots, especially the running backs who will likely get the goal-line work that would otherwise have gone to Newton. Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson should both bump up a bit in fantasy drafts. The pass-catchers — in some order, WRs Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor, TEs Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith and RB James White — all get a light boost as well, but the goal-line carries should be the biggest change here. — Daniel Kelley