It was one of those rumors that just wouldn't die. Now, it has come to fruition. Deion Branch, who won two Super Bowls with the Patriots from 2002-2005, is back with the team. According to multiple reports, the Patriots have re-acquired Branch via trade from the Seattle Seahawks, the compensation reportedly a fourth round draft pick.
While the compensation may seem a little high to some, I think that it is about right. With eight picks in the first four rounds of next year's draft, the Patriots likely would be very limited in terms of roster space. Sacrificing one fourth round pick probably won't make much of a difference in the long term.
So what are the Patriots getting with Branch? For one, they won't be getting the same player that one the Super Bowl XXXIX MVP with the team. But that doesn't mean they won't be getting a solid player. Branch might not be able to cut on a dime like he once could at age 31, but he can still be a solid overall player for the Patriots. Don't stereotype Branch as a slot receiver because of his size. Branch can play outside. He is a deep-ball threat. With a
better overall offense in New England, I expect that Branch should be able to play with success in his return trip to New England.
What about Branch's contract? Well, Branch is due $5.47 million this season and $5.95 million next season. Branch likely won't take a reduction for this season, but may be willing to re-negotiate his contract for 2011 and beyond.
Lastly, just one question remains: What number will Deion wear in his return trip in New England?