Monday, September 11, 2006

Deion Branch

The Seattle Seahawks traded their 2007 first round draft pick for disgruntled New England Patriots' wide receiver Deion Branch this morning. Despite Tom Brady hitting his wideouts for a lowly 51 yards in Week 1, the Patriots decided to rid themselves of an issue that did not seem it was going to be resolved. After a career year (78 catches for 998 yards and 5 touchdowns), Branch, who is currently his entering his fifth and final year of his rookie contract, has been holding out since a mandatory mincamp in June a contract extension and has been subject to a $14,000 fine per day since the opening of training camp on July 28. The Seahawks and Branch reportedly agreed to a six-year, $39 million deal that would have paid him $13 million in combined bonuses and about $23 million in the first three years of the contract.

The addition of Super Bowl 39 MVP Deion Branch strengthens the Seahawks shaky receiving corps, which consists of Darrell Jackson, who is coming of off two knee surgeries, Nate Burleson, an offseason signing who is still settling into the offense, Bobby Engram, Hasselbeck's security blanket who is best used out of the slot, and tight end Jerramy Stevens, who is out until October with a torn meniscus in his left knee. The cost for Branch, Seattle's first round draft choice, should prove to be well worth it, as the Seahawks are not expected to be picking anywhere above the 20s anyway. While Branch is certainly capable of contributing immediately, it generally takes quite a bit of time to fully comprehend Mike Holmgren's west coast offense and build chemistry with Matt Hasselbeck, as shown with Nate Burleson. Because of this, the trade may pay off more in the future than it will this season. Whatever the case, kudos to Tim Ruskell and the Seahawks front office for pulling the trigger on this move and staying active in trying to improve what is already a Super Bowl caliber team.