The Patriots decision to sign Cam Newton sent shockwaves around the NFL on Sunday. It was a surprising move for a few reasons, and one of those reasons is that if there's one team in the NFL that almost never has to look to free agency to find a starting quarterback, it's the Patriots. Just think about it: Can you even remember the last time the Patriots started a quarterback that they didn't draft? The answer to that question is probably no, and that's because it's been nearly three decades since it's happened.
If Newton ends up as the Patriots starting quarterback this year, he'll be the first player in 27 years who wasn't drafted by New England to get a start at the position. The last quarterback who wasn't drafted by the Patriots who actually ended up starting for the team came in 1993 when Scott Secules went 0-4 during his only year in Foxborough (Secules was originally drafted by the Cowboys in 1988). The Secules era definitely wasn't a glamorous one for the Patriots.
Here's a look at Secules in case you forgot what he looks like:
If Newton wins just one game in 2020, he'll become the first Patriots quarterback who wasn't drafted by the team to win a game in New England since 1991. Currently, that honor belongs to Hugh Millen, who was originally drafted by the Rams in 1986 before ending up in New England for two years (1991-92).
Thanks in large part to Tom Brady's 20-year run with the team, the Patriots have had uncanny success with drafting quarterbacks. As a matter of fact, every Patriots quarterback that has ever started a game under Bill Belichick was originally drafted by the team.
Here's a look at the five quarterbacks who have started for the Patriots since Belichick was hired in 2000, along with when the Patriots drafted them:
Drew Bledsoe (2000-01): Drafted No. 1 overall in 1993, started 18 games under Belichick.
Tom Brady (2000-19): Draft 199th overall in 1999, started 283 games
Matt Cassel (2005-08): Drafted 230th overall in 2005, started 15 games, which all came in 2008.
Jimmy Garoppolo (2014-16): Drafted 62nd overall in 2014, started two games while Brady was suspended.
Jacoby Brissett (2016): Drafted 91st overall in 2016, started two games while Brady was suspended.
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As for Secules -- the last free agent quarterback to start a game for the Patriots -- his final start with the team came in November 1993. On Millen's end, he was the last free agent quarterback to win a game for the Patriots and that win came in December 1991 when the Patriots beat the Jets 6-3.
Cam Newton has a chance to make history in New England, and if he's completely healthy, there's a good chance he'll be able to do it.