Thanks to a guy named Tom Brady, Julian Edelman didn't experience much quarterback controversy during his 11 seasons in New England.
The former Patriots wide receiver announced his retirement about a week before the 2021 NFL Draft, when Bill Belichick and Co. selected Alabama QB Mac Jones with the 15th overall pick. Fast-forward a few months, and Jones has earned the Patriots' starting quarterback job over veteran Cam Newton after a fascinating competition in camp.
Now an analyst for "Inside the NFL," Edelman remains plugged into all things Patriots ahead of the new season. The three-time Super Bowl champion shared his take on Jones overtaking Newton on a conference call Wednesday.
“Nothing surprises me with Bill. Just look at the history,” Edelman said. “Logan Mankins was let go. Lawyer Milloy, [Richard] Seymour. I think the kid came out and did very well. You could see in his eyes, see in his reads, that he felt very comfortable in the pocket. He was looking at the right areas. He ran the no-huddle well.
“I don’t think he beat [Newton] out, but the ceiling is so high and after spending the 15th overall pick on him, they’re going to go with him. It didn’t surprise me.”
Edelman may not have been shocked by the decision to cut Newton, but most of the NFL world was taken by surprise. The former NFL MVP took the majority of first-team reps in camp and started all three of the Patriots' preseason games. Jones impressed throughout the summer, but all signs seemed to point toward the 22-year-old backing up Newton to begin the 2021 campaign.
“I feel bad for him with that whole situation," Edelman said of Newton. "I don’t think they wanted a distraction and wanted to give him a chance to go out and get on another team. But it’s not a very surprising act by the Patriots.”
As for where Newton will land next, the Dallas Cowboys reportedly have expressed interest in the 32-year-old. A number of teams are likely to inquire about Newton this season, though it's unknown whether he would agree to a backup role.
Jones will make his official NFL debut Sept. 12 at 4:25 p.m. ET when the Patriots host the Miami Dolphins.