Thursday, March 22, 2012
Deion Branch Sticks Around For What Should Be Another Fun Year In Foxborough
Well I'm no NFL agent but I'm pretty sure the negotiations between Deion Branch's agent and the New England Patriots probably took a grand total of 10 seconds this off-season.
The team confirmed something today that many expected since the Super Bowl ended: Branch will be back for another season with the Pats. He signed a one-year deal which keeps him with the team that has re-energized his career.
Yes he has slowed down but there's something to be said for the inane connection that he still shares with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Last season, his first full one back in New England, was a solid one for Branch: 51 catches, 702 yards, 5 touchdowns as the team's No. 2 receiver.
He will probably never be a 1000-yard receiver again in his career but then again, his game was never about numbers. He is still absurdly clutch and his hands are still there. With the addition of Brandon Lloyd and hopefully the return of Wes Welker (who was franchised), Branch should slide into the more comfortable spot as No. 3 receiver. When you have Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd, Branch is a pretty nice fifth option.
Branch is one of the most beloved Patriots from his era and I doubt that he'll leave Foxborough again before his career ends. He deserves to end it here and then have his number retired at Gillette Stadium. A true pro, a good dude and a great teammate, basically all you can ask for in a football player. Deion is the man and I'm psyched that he's not going anywhere; he has earned another shot with Brady and Belichick.
UPDATE 3/22: The Patriots also agreed to a two-year deal with fullback/linebacker Spencer Larsen. You read that right, he plays both of those positions, hence why New England must have coveted him for his versatility.
UPDATE 3/23: Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer signed his restricted free-agent tender with the Patriots today. He was tendered at the second-round level ($1.9 million). This was expected, it's noteworthy because he now counts on the 80-man roster (whereas he didn't before).