The Patriots' method of generating goodwill with practice-squad players could come in handy for handling their difficult future quarterback decision

Business Insider | 9/11/2017 | Scott Davis
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In the not-too-distant future, the New England Patriots are going to have a tough decision to make with Jimmy Garoppolo.

After a promising two-game start in 2016 before getting injured and ceding the job back to Tom Brady, Garoppolo looked like a competent starting quarterback.

Patriots - Garoppolo - Offseason - Speculation - Team

The Patriots ultimately decided to hang onto Garoppolo through the offseason, despite rampant speculation that they could trade him to a quarterback-needy team for draft picks.

While Garoppolo remains Brady's backup for 2017, he's set to hit free agency at the end of this season, putting the Patriots in a difficult place. They could opt to re-sign Garoppolo for what figures to be a hefty price, despite the possibility of once again having him back up Brady. Or, they could let Garoppolo leave in free agency, losing a potential replacement for their 41-year-old quarterback for nothing.

Decision - Brady - Performs - Season - ESPN

It's a difficult decision that will likely greatly rely on how Brady ages and performs in the 2017 season. However, as ESPN's Mike Reiss told Sports Illustrated's Peter King on "The MMQB Podcast," the Patriots may have another option that makes re-signing Garoppolo more palatable.

As Reiss noted, placing the franchise tag on Garoppolo and paying him over $20 million to back up Brady goes against the Patriots' ethos. However, Reiss hypothesized that the Patriots could perhaps split the franchise tag over this year and next season for Garoppolo to lessen the cap hit and buy more time.

Patriots - Use - Tactic - Practice-squad

King noted that the Patriots use a similar tactic when they pay practice-squad...
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