The New England Patriots can reach a contract extension with their current free agents at any given time, but most players will wait until free agency before making a decision. Patriots DT Alan Branch probably won’t sign before free agency, but the wheels for an extension will be in motion before the end of February.
“I love the Patriots,” Branch told SiriusXM hosts Bob Papa and Ross Tucker, via NESN’s Doug Kyed. “They gave me a second chance at my career. They gave me two years, but at the same time it’s a business. It’s business on their end, and it’s business on mine. I gotta do what’s best for my family. I got four kids. I got a lot of mouths to feed, lotta weddings — I got three girls. I got a lot of schools to pay for.
“It’s a business at the end of the day. It just kind of depends on what’s laid out on the table. If it’s smart to stay on the team that I’ve been productive on and the money is not too much different, then who knows. But if it’s a significant difference, I mean, sometimes it’s hard to say no, you know?”
Branch implies that he might be willing to take less money to remain in New England, so long as the offer is within the same ballpark as other offers. The Patriots signed Branch in October of 2014 and Branch has been a big part of New England’s two Super Bowl championships. The 6’6, 350 pound defensive tackle is coming off his best season as a pro and has been a strong leader for the young defensive tackles on the Patriots roster.
But don’t expect Branch to take a eye-popping discount.
“I definitely want to maximize my earning power, especially coming off one of my better seasons of my career,” Branch said. “That’s what every kid you dream of getting Super Bowls, and you dream of getting paid what you feel is just due for your output of play. I’m just hoping I can just go out there, make a good amount of money and at the same time enjoying playing football.”
Football is easier to enjoy while winning and no team has been more successful than the Patriots. Multiple veterans like Branch, EDGE Chris Long, and TE Martellus Bennett have spoken about how the Patriots winning environment has been rejuvenating for their careers.
“I revamped my love of football even more so since I’ve been with the Patriots,” Branch said. “I’m just ready to play some good ball. Usually in the offseason, it seems like it goes too fast, but I’m chomping at the bit to get out there again to start playing.”
Branch also serves as a walking billboard for other free agent players about the potential of joining the Patriots. Branch helped replace Patriots stalwart DT Vince Wilfork, earned a second contract, won a lot of games, and earned starting time. If a veteran wants to win and has gas left in the tank, then there’s no better franchise to join than the Patriots.
The Patriots are expected to negotiate with Branch’s agent in the coming weeks, according to Branch himself.
“Right now, I know my agent is supposed to be going to them, talking to them in Indianapolis for the combine, I believe,” Branch added. “To my knowledge, I just let my agent do his job. I just try to my part in playing the ball, playing good ball and continue to go out there and be reliable.”
Hopefully Branch can finish out the rest of his career with the Patriots, and his final years can be as successful as his first three seasons in New England.