Mac Jones is all alone on the New England Patriots' depth chart. For now.
Hours after the Patriots released last year's starter Cam Newton on Tuesday, the team also released back-up quarterback Brian Hoyer and placed Jarrett Stidham on the PUP list in its final round of roster moves. The latter move will keep Stidham, who competed for the starting job last year, out for at least the first six weeks of the season.
The end result: a rookie is the only quarterback left on the Patriots' active roster.
It should be noted that Jones likely won't be alone for long. ESPN's Mike Reiss and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport have both speculated the Patriots will re-sign Hoyer in the coming days and his release is more of a procedural move. Even if the team doesn't bring back Hoyer, it is basically guaranteed they find someone else.
Still, the whole situation underscores just how heavily the Patriots are betting on Jones to be their guy in a post-Tom Brady world. The team drafted him 15th overall in the 2021 NFL draft after an All-American junior season at Alabama, in which he won a national championship and the Davey O'Brien Award for best collegiate quarterback.
Jones has since impressed in camp and will join the Jacksonville Jaguars' Trevor Lawrence and the New York Jets' Zach Wilson in starting in Week 1.
It's not an unreasonable gamble for the Patriots. Bill Belichick knows more than anyone how important a good quarterback is to winning a Super Bowl. While other teams insist on giving opportunities to veterans, the Patriots are starting Jones and hoping he can show he can be that quarterback for them.