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    Patriots' Mac Jones NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year odds: Jones wins New England starting quarterback job, gets big odds boost; Cam Newton shockingly released

    Shocking news out of New England on Tuesday regarding the team's QB situation.
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    Pretty much everyone who follows the New England Patriots beat expected Coach Bill Belichick to name veteran incumbent Cam Newton as the team's Week 1 starting quarterback against the Miami Dolphins over first-round pick Mac Jones because Belichick had never started a rookie QB in Week 1 previously – obviously helped he had Tom Brady. However, in a Tuesday stunner, Jones not only will start but Newton was released. Jones jumped from +1000 at Caesars Sportsbook to a +500 second favorite behind Trevor Lawrence (+325) to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. The SportsLine Projection Model also upgrades the Pats as a whole. 

    Jones had the better numbers in the preseason (36-for-52 for 388 yards with a TD), although he did take five sacks and held the ball too long at times, but Newton (14-for-21 for 162 yards with a TD and pick) started each game and got the only work with the first-team offense in Sunday's exhibition finale. Newton also brought a running element that Jones simply does not.

    Don't feel too bad for Newton, the former league MVP, as he still will make $3.5 million from the Pats this year, $2 million of that a signing bonus and a $1.5 million salary. For some reason, the Pats did not try to trade Newton before deciding to cut him. He is free to sign with any team and would upgrade backup situations just about everywhere around the NFL – the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys immediately come to mind behind Zach Wilson and Dak Prescott, respectively. Perhaps the Houston Texans to compete with Tyrod Taylor as the No. 1. 

    Veteran journeyman Brian Hoyer will serve as the backup to Jones; Hoyer isn't a "threat" to take the job like Newton would have been and is considered a terrific mentor, but this is a major risk by Belichick. Not like he has to worry about job security. The Pats, incidentally, haven't had an Offensive Rookie of the Year since running back Curtis Martin in 1995. No New England QB has won the award.

    No AFC East starting quarterback is now older than 25: Buffalo's Josh Allen is that age, Miami's Tua Tagovailoa is 23, the Jets' Wilson is 22 and Jones is 22. It definitely adds a nice wrinkle to have the former Bama teammates Jones and Tua facing off in Week 1. Jones, Tua's former backup, was the No. 15 pick this year and Tua the No. 5 pick in 2020.

    The Patriots have dropped from -3 to -2.5 vs. Miami for the opener but no other New England team futures have changed as of this writing The model below believes Jones slightly improves the Pats. 

    NEW ENGLAND         WIN     WIN%        DIVISION      PLAYOFF     CONF     CHAMP
    w/ Cam Newton9.153.50%18.50%46.80%3.10%1.40%
    w/ Mac Jones9.354.70%21.20%50.70%3.50%1.70%
    Difference0.21.20%2.70%3.90%0.40%0.30%

    Which Fantasy Football sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Join SportsLine now to get 2021 Fantasy Football cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen's huge season.

    Matt SeveranceSeverance Pays

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