Reports surfaced on Wednesday morning that the Patriots were unlikely to trade backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. This means one of two things: either they plan on on hanging on to him and having him be the replacement for Tom Brady, or they have not gotten the trade value they want for him. Regardless of the scenario, it is the smart move.

If New England believes that Garoppolo can be an elite level quarterback replacing Brady, then keeping him is a no-brainer. Despite only playing six quarters this season, the Patriots’ backup did show the potential to be great. He led the Patriots to a prime time road win in Arizona in week one and shredded the Dolphins defense for three touchdowns in the first half in week two. Unfortunately, his injured shoulder did not allow him to play the remaining two and a half games that his opportunity in September offered him. It is unlikely that Garoppolo will see the field again anytime soon, but hanging on to a player with Garoppolo’s potential at the most important position in the game is certainly worth it.

On the other hand, the Patriots may still want to trade him but are not getting the offers they feel are adequate. In that case, it behooves New England to be patient and wait to see if they can get an offer they like. Garoppolo has a team friendly salary for 2017 and getting rid of him for less than equal value would be a waste. It is likely that the Patriots want at least a first round pick for him, and if they trade him for less than that (or a high second rounder), they will have shortchanged themselves.

Garoppolo has showed signs of being a good NFL starter. Due to this reason alone, the Patriots would be smart to keep him. Although it hasn’t been standard practice, New England hasn’t been afraid to have more than two quarterbacks on the roster during Bill Belichick’s tenure.

Quarterback is not only the most important position in football, it is one of the most important positions in all of sports. The Patriots are lucky, they have a Hall of Famer as their starter and a backup who looks to be as good as most starters across the league. Because of this luck, they can choose to be patient. If they decide to keep Garoppolo, they will be in good shape for the future. If they trade him for a first round pick or high second, they will help their future as well.

Once again, the Patriots have an opportunity to play the long game, an opportunity many teams across the NFL don’t have or refuse to take advantage of.