FOXBORO -- It's deadline day. The Patriots will have to make a decision with rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett by the end of business on Wednesday, and it sounds as though they'll decide to place the signal-caller on the active roster.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Brissett will be activated as the team's designated player to return off of injured reserve.
Asked about his plans for Brissett on Wednesday morning, Belichick smiled.
"Been reminded of that every couple days . . . I appreciate that," he said. "Was thinking that was going to slip by. We will make that decision. We will make that decision. We'll make it. By the time we have to make it, we'll absolutely make it."
Brissett played in three games during Tom Brady's four-game suspension to start the year. He filled in for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo during the Patriots' Week 2 win over the Dolphins. Brissett also beat the Texans in Week 3 and took the team's first defeat, a loss at home to the Bills, in Week 4.
The third-round pick out of North Carolina State was injured during Week 3 but was placed on injured reserve with a thumb injury following that Week 4 performance. Though he did not begin practicing until late November, Brissett was consistently around the facility to rehab and take part in meetings, He was also brought along on team road trips in order to get a sense for how the travel and game-day operations work during those weeks.
If the Patriots do not activate Brissett later on Wednesday, he will land on season-ending injured reserve and will not be eligible to practice. But it seems as though the plan all along has been for the Patriots to activate Brissett for several reasons: He is healthy and has been for weeks; the team did not have any other logical choices to designate as its player to return off of IR; quarterback depth for the stretch run could prove valuable should either Brady or Garoppolo suffer an injury; and activating Brissett means he'll be able to continue practicing, giving him meaningful reps for his ongoing development.
In order to place him on the 53-man roster, however, the Patriots will have to clear a roster spot. It's uncertain who will be moved in order to make room, but a player will either need to be released or placed on injured reserve.
Releasing a young player that the team has spent a great deal of time and effort developing -- like running back DJ Foster or defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton, both of whom have been with the team since the spring but inactive for the last eight games -- would make the player available to the other 31 teams in the league through waivers. That may not be the most palatable of options.
The other choice would be to place an injured player, like safety Jordan Richards (knee), on IR. That may hurt the team's depth in the kicking game for the stretch run, but the benefit would be that it clears a spot without the risk of losing a player to another club building for the future.