New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) drops back to pass during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: John Minchillo / AP

This story will be updated.

The Patriots had an absolute whopper waiting on cutdown day.

Cam Newton has been released, according to the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride, and Bill Belichick named Mac Jones New England’s starting quarterback.

Though Newton took the starter’s reps in all three of New England’s preseason games, Jones outplayed him as the backup. The rookie also performed well at joint practices in Newton’s absence, when the veteran was sidelined for five days due to misunderstanding COVID-19 protocols.

Though it’s still a shocking move, Sunday night on Peacock, Patriots Hall of Famer Rodney Harrison thought it was a no-brainer.

“I just think Mac Jones — he did everything that coach Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels wanted him to do,” Harrison said. “He’s the perfect quarterback for this system. Why would you want to go and put Cam Newton — a guy that’s still learning the offense, a guy that’s been super inconsistent. This kid, he came out his very first (game action) and he’s running the no-huddle, hurry-up offense.

“I just think this is the right guy for the job. And it’s a no-brainer to me. I don’t understand how this could be hard for Coach Belichick. I know he has a lot of loyalty to Cam, but at the end of the day, the thing he always preached to us, he said, ‘I’m going to do what’s best for the team.’ In my opinion, what’s best for the team is starting Mac Jones and not Cam Newton.”

Story by Chris Mason,