Over a week after news broke that the New England Patriots would be signing defensive lineman Alan Branch, it looks like the Patriots will make that move official today. Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston reports:
Free-agent DT Alan Branch is here at Gillette Stadium. Look for him to practice today and an official signing to be announced by Patriots.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 29, 2014
The big-bodied Branch already had a locker at Gillette, so it was a bit of a mystery as to why the Patriots' hadn't signed him. My best guess is that they weren't prepared to have him in the game-plan for the Bears game, so instead waited a week so that his roster spot could be better utilized.
Look for Branch to have an immediate role in base-packages. He could take away some playing time from Casey Walker on the interior, but is also a likely candidate to take over some 3-4 DE duties from Chris Jones. Remember, Branch has experience both inside and outside in the 3-4 and 4-3, so the Patriots may be able to experiment a bit with his potential best fit.