The Patriots‘ quarterback battle will tilt toward Mac Jones this week, by default. Cam Newton will not be permitted to practice with the team until Thursday. A COVID-19 issue will force the veteran quarterback to work virtually, according to the Patriots, who have called this a misunderstanding that stemmed from Newton traveling to a team-approved medical appointment outside Foxborough. Newton has not tested positive for the coronavirus, per the team, but an issue with his testing cadence caused this hiccup. Like Kirk Cousins and Lamar Jackson this month, Newton’s unvaccinated status has complicated matters for his team. Only unvaccinated players are tested daily; vaccinated players also are exempt from five-day isolation periods. One of the practices Newton will miss will be a joint workout with the Giants.
Until Monday, Jones had lined up with the Pats’ second-team offense, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. This week certainly represents an opportunity for the first-round pick to gain ground. Both Newton and Jones played well in New England’s second preseason game, and OC Josh McDaniels said the 32-year-old incumbent remains the starter. The Pats have not named a Week 1 starter, however. Here is the latest from the AFC East:
- Rather than give Jamal Adams a top-market contract, the Jets moved on via a blockbuster trade. It turns out, they were involved in a similar negotiation barely a year ago. Adams wanted to be the Jets’ highest-paid player and sought the $17.5MM-per-year figure — which would have surpassed C.J. Mosley‘s $17MM AAV — that he ended up getting from the Seahawks, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. With the Broncos having yet to move Justin Simmons past the $15MM-AAV barrier, Adams’ ask was even farther beyond the safety salary range in 2020. Adams landing his Seattle extension last week, however, stands to benefit Marcus Maye in 2022. The Jets and Maye were not close on terms at July’s franchise tag deadline, pushing Adams’ former sidekick toward free agency next year.
- Morgan Moses has not locked up the Jets’ right tackle job just yet, with Cimini adding that incumbent George Fant has pushed the longtime Washington starter. Fant has split first-team reps with Moses, with the team listing each as a starter on its depth chart. Fant started 14 Jets games at right tackle last year; Moses started every Washington game for the past six years at the position. Despite Moses’ superior resume, Fant is attached to a $9.1MM-per-year deal while Moses signed a one-year, $3.6MM pact after his Washington release. This is an interesting issue for the Jets to have, given their struggles up front over the past few years.
- Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips seems to have both avoided a serious injury and run into a potentially problematic issue. The fourth-year D-lineman left Buffalo’s second preseason game with an injury NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport classified as not serious (Twitter link). Sean McDermott, however, said the injury is to the same knee that required ACL surgery in 2019. It does not look like Phillips is in danger of missing too much time, per McDermott, but this will be an issue for the Bills to monitor ahead of the rotational lineman’s contract year.
- The Patriots attempted to interview Packers executive Chad Brinker this offseason, but Albert Breer of SI.com notes Green Bay blocked the move. The Pats wanted to meet with Brinker about a job helping manage their salary cap. Brinker would have rejoined ex-Packers exec Eliot Wolf in New England. Instead, the Packers promoted him.