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In the Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast, Yahoo Fantasy analyst Matt Harmon and Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic look at several changing storylines in New England after the release of Cam Newton and the elevation of the former Alabama QB to starter. Subscribe to the Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts
MATT HARMON: The Patriots-- they have released Cam Newton, which I thought that was a surprise until you really think about it. They're clearly going to Mac Jones. The Patriots shop has already sold out of his jerseys-- what a time to be Mac Jones. Now, obviously I'm sure you paid a little bit of attention to Mac Jones because it was a pretty long time when we thought he was going to be in the NFC West with the 49ers there. Clearly not going to happen. What was your thoughts on Mac Jones as a quarterback, and what do you think he brings to the table here?
JOURDAN RODRIGUE: Yeah well, definitely Bill Belichick and Dave Ziegler-- I think they see something in him in terms of not just-- to me, not just from an offensive standpoint, maybe a team-building standpoint. In terms of like-- I don't ever think we can say the Patriots are like a rebuilding team because of their recent history, but in terms of the way that they went heavy in terms of restocking some places and focusing on some of those things. To me, from a team building perspective, any team, regardless of whether it's the Patriots or any random given NFC West team-- if you can get a younger quarterback, a cheap quarterback, then you have a better chance of rebuilding a long-term roster around that quarterback if you feel it's the right one.
So I think other than complete and total shock today when I saw that headline-- I think that was maybe my first reaction, was like-- they might try to do one of those situations where maybe they're not going to come out and say yeah, we are totally overhauling and rebuilding and trying to work around it, but from a long-term team-build perspective, having a quarterback who you're developing in-house first of all, and then second of all, who's cheap for a longer-- for a long time, that's something you do when you restructure your organization in that way.
MATT HARMON: Yeah and frankly, I think that now is the time for Mac Jones because while the mass audience out there might not-- I still feel like the Patriots skill-position group is being looked at as if it's just like a total bunch of goofballs like it was last year. But I think Jakobi Meyers is a pretty good player, I think Damien Harris ran well last year-- those guys I think both get a little tick up because they're going to throw the ball, and they're going to throw the ball with more tempo now, I think that Mac Jones is back there.
Jakobi Meyers, his ADP has been rising in fantasy-- don't care. Still in on where he's going. He is one of my favorite sleepers this year. I love him at his draft cost, and same thing with Damien Harris as well. Just all these guys, I think, because they'll run a more traditional offense with Mac Jones back there. Again, passing with more timing, tempo, everything that they used to do with Tom Brady-- I'm not saying Mac Jones is going to be Tom Brady, but I think they'll run a similar style offense there. Also Jonnu Smith, another guy that I think has been underrated throughout the process, and even Nelson Agholor is a decent deep threat there. So I think they're set up to succeed early with Mac Jones. And I think it just makes sense-- you know the Cam Newton effect pretty well, Jourdan. The guy casts an oversized shadow just wherever he is. I think just having him out of the building is probably best long-term for Mac Jones. Do you just-- total speculation, don't care how accurate this is-- what do you think is next for Cam? Because for me, I look around like the rest of the league and I just don't really see a spot for him.
JOURDAN RODRIGUE: Yeah, I actually want to speak to your point because I think that it really stinks for a quarterback when it's a double-edged sword in that way, because somebody brings you in to help hold together an organization, essentially. If you're a-- I'm certainly never going to call someone with Cam Newton's history and caliber of background a bridge quarterback, but because he was there for such a short time, I guess on paper. So it stinks if you're that guy, because you're there to hold the pieces of something together and because you have that charisma and that personality, that's something that really does help keep everyone together and keep everyone intact through a time of overhaul, a time of change, a period of a tumultuous journey, I think, over the last year for them.
I do think he's got football left in him. I will believe it when I see it when he stops playing, because I've seen firsthand the passion that he has for the game and how hard he works. You have this quality that you're celebrated for, and then all of a sudden it becomes one of the things that maybe move you out the door. And to me, that's a hard thing as a person, I think, would be.