Seahawks Insider

Branching off

Post by Dave Boling / The News Tribune on Oct. 7, 2010 at 2:11 pm with 57 Comments »
October 7, 2010 2:11 pm

Some quick background on the Branch situation. Apparently, the Patriots have been interested in getting Branch back for some time … back to the Ruskell era. The guy was very productive in big games for them (21 catches for 276 yards in two Super Bowls). Tom Brady apparently loves him.

If the Pats got only a third-round pick from Minnesota for Randy Moss, it’s doubtful they’re going to be willing to give up anything but a lower pick for Branch, unless some other factors/players enter into the equation. No question, the Seahawks could stand to recoup some draft picks they’ve already shipped out. This team is rebuilding. And the Patriots have a ton of draft picks in hand and available.

Does landing Marshawn Lynch make Branch more or less a factor? Maybe a renewed focus on the rushing attack means fewer passes to go around. We might view Branch as redundant once they got Brandon Stokley, but an improved running game could open things up for more of the kinds of routes Branch and Stokley run. And Pete Carroll went out of his way recently to project Branch into a role as a slot receiver on the side opposite Stokley. Of course, that is the same coach who said Julius Jones was going to be back in running back rotation the day before he was released.

I think the staff and front office genuinely appreciates Branch. I think they see value in him. But they have made it very clear they will listen to anybody on any topic. I think that having Lynch on-board now solidified their belief that they can be in contention in the power-vacuum that is the NFC West. And they will need to be convinced before they surrender anybody they think can help them win games now.

Leave a comment Comments → 57
  1. “I think that having Lynch on-board now solidified their belief that they can be in contention in the power-vacuum that is the NFC West. And they will need to be convinced before they surrender anybody they think can help them win games now”

    That makes sense. Getting a 5th rounder (or lower) from NE isn’t likely to change the team much. Most likely thing you get at that spot is a special teams player. And the argument toward getting more snaps for the young WR’s (which I get), carries less weight if they have a shot at winning the division this year.

  2. We paid a 1st for him.He should be worth a 3rd.

  3. He’s not worth a 3rd (even if we paid a 1st to get him). He WAS in his prime when we got him (I never saw him play at that level though). He’s now 31. That’s not young in the NFL. The knee has been injured, operated on, and operated on some more.

  4. Dukeshire says:

    Well, it’s hard to imagine Branch fitting into their longer range plans. Certainly not the way a 24 year old Lynch figures to. And this team doesn’t really have a #1 receiver at this point, or at least not anyone who has stepped into that role so losing him doesn’t change the corps dynamic. I think Stokley’s addition affects Branch more than Lynch and they had to be impressed with how he was able to step in and contribute so quickly.

    If NE can rework Branch’s contract, I thinks he’s gone for as low as a 5th (conditional to 4) round pick. We’ll see.

  5. Dukeshire says:

    Agreed. What Seattle gave for him is irrelevant. Especially considering the person who gave that for him is no longer here.

  6. williambryan says:

    i would like to see branch to NE with a swap of our 5th rounder for one of there 4th rounders

  7. Great stuff, Eric! And nice job breaking the story this morning (at least in the NW). POLL: what is branch worth to you, Seahawks fans?

  8. Put little effort into following Branch and his on field transgressions but with the little notice taken I’ve found he is amongst other things, a very poor blocker. The effort put forth by the front office to improve the run game far outreaches (outcedes isn’t a word?) that of Deion Branch.
    Good riddance!

  9. snydro22 says:


    Eric Williams is on vacation. Dave Boling has been providing us with the analysis today, and Ryan Divish linked to the story this morning, which was broken by the Boston Herald..

    The story was probably leaked by New England to create an atmosphere that is uncomfortable for Branch and the Hawks. Belichick is a weasel like that. But, I don’t think it will work here. Every player here knows there is no such thing as job security.

    If we can package Branch and a later pick, we might sneak off with a 3rd or a 4th. If not, I would be shocked if it were higher than a 6th.

    The latest out of Boston is that it’s not happening anyway though. So we’ll see.

  10. snydro22 says:

    I should clarify – the latest out of Boston is that the Hawks are trying hard to move him, but that the Patriots aren’t actively buying right now..

  11. tylakewalker says:


    Agreed, Branch is a poor pass blocker. Good blocking by receivers can really help the running game. I would be curious to know if Stokely is a better blocker? I know Mike Williams is.

  12. Dukeshire says:

    Branch back in February said himself he’d love to play for Belichick again, or words to that effect, so a rumored trade to NE wouldn’t do anything but make him happy, one would think. If anything, I tend to think that Seattle leaked the story after contacting NE in an effort to create the illusion of interest in Branch. Perhaps they can drum up other takers for him (presuming he’s willing to re-do his contract. He’s untradeable as it is) before the deadline.

  13. Watching Branch laugh off his sure TD,showed his lack of caring for this team.Time to move him(get 6th round,just get something for this bum) ..Pay Patriots to take him….Friggin load

  14. snydro22 says:


    I somewhat agree with the sentiment, but 9 times out of 10, people within an organization don’t go out of their way to contact beat writers for other organizations. In other words, it would be really strange if someone in New England’s front office called Eric Williams, and vice versa.. But that’s all just speculation regardless..

    Case in point – the Bengals beat writer who reported that there were 4 trade offers on the table for Housh. I wonder who his source was on that one? Probably not someone with any knowledge of the situation, like someone in our front office..

    Still, no organization wants there to be conflict in the case that the deal doesn’t go through. If Branch knows the Seahawks were shopping him desperately, which is what the reports are saying, how does he feel if that doesn’t end up happening? How does he feel if there are no takers? Probably unwanted, even if he doesn’t let on.. Of course he is a professional, and stories will always leak, and the Hawks know that, but they certainly don’t want to encourage it..

  15. snydro22 says:

    And also, just reading through Rapaport’s reports on the subject, it’s pretty cut and dry that his source is within the Pats. He kinda says it.

    Besides, the reports are that we are shopping Branch and New England doesn’t necessarily want him (at least not at our asking price, which I’d imagine is pretty reasonable given our desperation)..

    But really, who cares? Semantics. I mostly just wanted to call Belichick a weasel.. I could care less who leaks a story as long as it materializes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I’ll get that satisfaction on this one..

  16. ruminator1 says:

    i think branch has performed well this year. everyone notes he lost the touchdown but that was a hell of a defensive play and no way was he laughing about it. that is ridiculous. he has also caught some key 3rd down passes. that said, i wouldn’t be unhappy if they traded him and got a 4th.

  17. snydro22 says:

    You wouldn’t be happy with a 4th?


    I’d do cartwheels!

    New England only got a 3rd for Randy Moss.. We traded a 4th for Lynch.. Branch is totally expendable..

  18. tylakewalker says:

    I would be happy to see branch traded for a 5th. I want to see Golden Tate play.

  19. Dukeshire says:

    Okay, that’s fair. The original report came from Ian Rapoport who works for the Boston Herald so it would be unlikely that someone within the Seahawks organization contacted him to get the story out. That said, the Pats are the only team that has surfaced and I’ve read quite a few “reports” on the web without getting a sense that they are shopping him desperately. (Although I’m certain they want to unload him.) And this isn’t the first time there has been alleged interest from NE. What I’m getting at, is that I don’t see this scenario as a negative (and I usually would, actually). If this weren’t a player that has expressed his desire to leave (either on the field in Dallas, unprofessional by the way, or last year or through the media last February) then I’d have concern for his feelings, as it were. But in this case I do not. This is a somewhat unique situation and I hope (as we both do) Seattle is able to work something out in there best interests.

  20. snydro22 says:

    And to be fair to you, the story was actually broken (that doesn’t sound right) by Brock Hillman, who is Branch’s agent. He tweeted something about a deal involving one of his players possibly being in the works. He later deleted the tweet but by then all the beat guys were making calls, I’m sure..

  21. snydro22 says:


    The ‘shopping him desperately’ remark is based off Rapaports tweet that:

    “Seattle is certainly trying to ship him out by the deadline, the Herald learned. But nothing doing with Pats now”

    I probably took some liberties with my phrasing there.. That’s just how it came off to me when I first read it..

  22. snydro22 says:

    And Duke, I totally agree.

    Like I said originally, I was calling Belichick a weasel and saying he probably WANTED to create an atmosphere where Seattle had to part with Branch below market value, but that it wouldn’t work in this case..

  23. Off topic — but what the H-E-doublehockeystick are the Patriots going to do with their Steve Hutchinson? He may not be as good as Hutch, but he’s certainly great in his own right.

  24. ruminator1 says:

    snydro i said i would not be unhappy with a 4th. reread. but i do disagree with the bashing. branch has played well this year.

  25. ruminator1 says:

    and actually there were reports that brady has expressd a desire to have branch back. maybe belichick made that up too so seattle would let him go cheap? love it

  26. ruminator1 says:

    a very recent Boston Globe report on the jackson possiblity:

    a quote:
    Updated at 10:55 p.m.: Curran has added to his post that the Chargers aren’t interested in Mankins. While the San Diego Union-Tribune reports a Pats deal for Jackson is unlikely.]

    So, Bauer doesn’t see it. Not at all. And the reason is because Jackson and Mankins would both have to sign tenders or agree to contract before a trade happens. “You don’t trade people you trade contracts,” Bauer explained.

    Essentially, he would have to know if it got serious because contracts would need to be signed. And he can’t imagine this one.

    “A contract would need to be negotiated through the agent before any trade is pulled,” Bauer said. “Somebody can call me tomorrow and say, ‘You’ve been traded to Cincinnati’ and I can say, ‘No, no, no, no. You got to have a contract. … And if they won’t pay Randy Moss, what makes you think they’ll pay Vincent Jackson?”

    As for Mankins and the Patriots? “Nothing to report,” Bauer said.

  27. ruminator1 says:

    herald sorry

  28. figures, ready to jump your(..),,,, post, but sydro has no read and comp

  29. IBGoofy says:

    Always liked Branch, he’s a great (top?) locker room guy from what we’ve been told, and never seems to give up, despite all he’s been through…. that said, at his age, he’s clearly not a player in our future…. get even a mid round pick for him and give this mgmt group a chance at drafting a contributing roster guy and it has my vote… I like our other rec’rs….

  30. seahawk44 says:

    Deion Branch and Leroy Hill for Logan Mankins ? good trade idea?

  31. Great trade idea (if you’re a Seahawks fan).

    But if you’re the Pats, you know that:
    1. Branch is old (in football years) and will most likely be available this upcoming off-season.
    2. Hill is going to get released. He’ll be a FA too. And that IR thing right now isn’t going to get teams knocking down his door so they can pay him millions to do nothing for him this year.

    With that being said, why would you give up a Pro Bowl OG in the prime of his career for two guys who you can get after this season for nothing? Granted, Mankins is probably at the long end of his prime, but still…

  32. After the 1st quarter of the ’10 season, time for a little gratitude for what Hawks FO & coaches have done, and oh yah, the players. There’s 5 different parts of a team: Pass-O; Run-O; Pass-D; Run-D; & STs.

    Hawks STs and Run-D both currently rank 1st in the NFL. As far as STs goes Hawks ST DVOA = 16.9%. The next closest ST DVOA (JAX) = 7.6%. That’s not close. Hawks have led the NFL in STs for the last 2 weeks. The strong parts are both KOs & KRs. Thanks Mare, LW & ST crews!

    Team Run-D is 1st by a narrower margin, and despite the slight drop in ranking by the DL vs opponent’s runs. SEA defends runs to the DL’s left end better than any other team in the NFL. Defending vs runs to the opponent’s RT ranks 3rd. Thanks Red! Defending runs up the A & B gaps ranks 12th and to the opponent’s LT ranks 10th. Not to bad. Defending runs to the opponent’s left end (D gap) falls down to 26th though. That needs fixing. Hawks defense can pretty much make opponents offenses 1-dimensional.

    Team Pass-D is a little less-respectable, 18th in the NFL. Still, its alot better than ranking 30th in both ’08 and ’09. Hawks defense has varied by an average of 6.9% in overall defense (ranks 22nd) from game to game in ’10. I’m thinking that represents mainly the difference in pass-rush between home and away games. Don’t know that for sure, but run-D has been steady even in away games. Wish Football Outsiders would break down pass-rush between home and away games. It may also have to do with Tru’s injury and variation in his coverage coinciding with away games. Hawks DL ranks 13th in defeating opponent’s OL pass-pro (CHI ranks 29th).

    Team Run-O has been a little different story. SEA’s run-O currently ranks 22nd. Last year it ranked 27th and it ranked 25th in ’08. Improved. slightly. However, Hawks OL currently ranks 28th in run-blocking. That’s one ranking lower than both ’08 & ’09 (27th). Hawks OL also currently ranks 30th in letting their RBs get stuffed at and behind the LOS. They ranked 25th in ’08 and 24th in ’09. Hawks OL run-blocking is the worst in the NFL at running to the left end (left D gap). I’m grateful that the run offense has improved despite the dropoff in OL run-blocking performance. OL continuity of players/coaches should improve the situation, as well as a new headache-ball Lynch-pin.

    Team Pass-O currently ranks 24th. Not so good, but still better than ’08 & ’09. Last year SEA’s team pass-O ranked 27th, and 25th in ’08. SEA’s OL is responsible for 9 sacks this season, ranking them 21st in pass-pro. Last year the OL also ranked 21st, and 22nd in ’08. SEA’s OL’s pass-pro ranked 19th in ’07. Matt’s DYAR currently ranks him 29th (just ahead of Bradford at 30th). Last year (ribs) Matt ranked 41st, and 40th (back) in ’08. In ’07 Matt ranked 9th in DYAR. Over the long run, given receivers that can get open and run accurate routes, a QB’s play will tend to wear down to the level of protection that his OL provides. Build a good OL and Hawks can have the kind of career for their next QB that GB had with Favre and will have with Rogers. Matt is the practice dummy for opponent defenses until our WRs get open and on the same page as Matt, and the OL can learn how to pass-protect & run-block. I’m grateful for Matt’s toughness.

  33. vichawkfan says:

    Branch is gone.

    Stokely locked that into stone when he signed. Push made for VJax coming, don’t be shocked.

  34. KFFL reports the Pats are talking trade with SD Logans for Jackson.

  35. Oops – that’s NE’s Logan Mankins for SD’s Vincent Jackson.

  36. Playing Devil’s Advocate…

    Run D… Ruskell brought in Mebane, Cole, and Red. Throw in Milloy, Curry, Heater and Lofa and that’s why we’re #1.

    Pass D… Ruskell is the reason we have Earl Thomas (at least that pick position).

    In no, way, shape, or form am I saying I’d rather have Ruskell back. It’s just you can shape stats into lies… like the guy who tried saying Clemons was better than Peppers the other day because he has more sacks so far this year (what a farce).

  37. AaronCurryIsBUST says:

    Curry is ABSOLUTE TRASH!!!

    And I could give a piss about Ruskell’s run defense. He couldn’t ever construct a team that could STOP THE FORWARD PASS!

  38. snydro22 says:

    Sorry Ruminator, I just misread it, like you said..

  39. ruminator1 says:

    according to the site i cited above, the mankin for jackson thing wasn’t happening; his agent denies they have seriously worked on this. it seems an obvious thought just as at least one seahawk fan thought maybe they could manage to work a deal involving mankin for branch and some other consideration. the draft situation for the patriots (2 in the ist, 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds) suggests to me that they do not need to use the cheap tricks a few have suggested to get branch or jackson.. one site i read today suggested that the hawks were one of about 10 teams who have been trying for VJ and also one of the best fits. i have been pushing for lynch for a long time, have pushed for VJ too, but as several people have pointed out, that was unlikely.

    it seems obvious that the patriots will have to trade mankins. would they go for branch and a 2nd? would you in their shoes?

    one last thought–i know they parted ways with reed, but it seemed to me that once he has mended, they might bring him back. he so fits the PC mode, i wonder if that could happen. any thoughts?

  40. SeahawkFan12 says:

    Aaron Curry is NOT a bust. Get a life, sweetie.

  41. snydro22 says:


    I’m sure you are referring to me with the ‘cheap tricks’ comment. I’m not really sure what you mean though. Kind of like the crack you made earlier about “Belichick making that up too” as if someone has said that Bill Belichick made something up. I just made a crack that I am sure Belichick, being a weasel, leaked the story. If you aren’t aware, this is actually common in the NFL. The Hawks leak stuff, the Rams leak stuff, the Pats leak stuff. It kind of happens every day. Who do you think is talking to Schefter? This is the NFL. If you don’t think smoke-screens, decoys and calculated misdirection exist, you haven’t been paying attention.

  42. BobbyK – I noted that Clemons has 4 sacks to date and Peppers has 2 (as does Brock). I did not say Clemons is better than Peppers as a pass rusher.

  43. ljarllrajl says:

    Branch and a 2nd for a guard?! That’s lunacy, rum. Guards are a dime a dozen in the draft if you evaluate them correctly. Guard is definitely not a position to panic over in any situation, IMO.

    Aaron Curry is NOT a bust…….yet.

    It’s frustrating to see 3 other linebackers, in the same draft class, get drafted after Curry and make the Pro Bowl there first year. But then I remind myself that a player like James Harrison went undrafted, and didn’t even make a roster until his 3rd season and went on to be All-Pro and win AP Defensive player of the year.

    My gut says Curry is somewhere in-between, like Anthony Simmons. A guy with impressive physical tools that just turns out to be pretty ok.

  44. Ruskell thought guards were a dime a dozen too. If any team should understand their importance, you’d think it’d be Seahawk fans.

  45. If Branch stays, he’ll contribute ‘some’ but never has been a big part of the game plan consistently. I’m very curious about how much Stokley has left. From the looks of the first game with less than a week’s worth of practice, I’d say it’s quite a bit.

    If however, you can get a 4th or 5th round for him, I’d be thrilled. John and Pete will nab someone good there, you can almost bank on it. Walt Thurmond was a 4th, Kam Chancellor a 5th and I believe EJ Wilson was somewhere in there as well (not sure what round, too lazy to look up).

    Anyway, I think we’re in a win-win situation although personally I’d rather have the draft pick and the depth in another position outside of WR.

    This is an exciting year. Of course we want to win it all; that’s the case every year! You can’t deny though it does feel like we’re consistently progressing from what the new regime inherited when they started.

    The Chicago game can’t get here soon enough.


  46. SandpointHawk says:

    Right on BobbyK

  47. ruminator1 says:

    snydro i wasn’t referring to you specifically (or at least not intentionally) i was just reacting to cheap tricks conspiracy theories. i am sure some of this stuff goes on but it seemed pretty far afield in this case.
    i think.

  48. I’d love to see Nick Reed come back to play Leo and spell Clemons.

  49. ljarllrajl says:

    That’s exactly my point, Bobby.

    Guards ARE a dime a dozen but our experience with Hutch has skewed our perception for too long. The fact is our offense didn’t fall apart overnight. It was a steady and gradual decline. Ruskell systematically neglected it in the draft and went with older FA’s….and Viola’, now you have an offense that has been starved for young playmakers looking for a fresh start.

  50. Devinc253 says:

    We paid a 1st for him.. He wasn’t even worth a 3rd

  51. AaronCurryIsBUST says:


    More than Lofa Tatupu, Ray Lewis, Julian Peterson, Brian Urlacher, Lance Brigg, Patrick Willis, etc!!!


    Damn you to hell Tim Ruskell for your fetish for drafting AWFUL defensive players in the first round!! Kelly Jennings, Lawrence Jackson, and Aaron Curry all SUCK!

  52. ruminator1 says:

    luckily the imbecilic categorizing of professional football players by microcephalic fans, as illustrated by the last post, are not scrutinzed and paid any attention to by the staff responsible for actually having to sign and train and support them. i doubt there is a single team in the nfl that wouldn’t jump to get curry were he available. somehow, all the professional experts are wrong and the brilliance of mr curry is a bust clearly shines through.

  53. ruminator1 says:

    what was the theme song for Dragnet? oh yeah dumb de dumb dumb

  54. nighthawk2 says:

    Ask Jay Cutler if he thinks guards are a dime a dozen. Presuming his head is clear enough by now to give a coherent answer.

    Branch has never played up to what we gave up for him, and I doubt he would have even without the knee injuries. I’m still sore about missing the opportunity to draft Ben Grubbs with that pick, but then Tim Numbskull wouldn’t have drafted Grubbs anyway. Here’s what Mr. “This is what I do, come find me!” had to say:

    ” He told the Boston Herald earlier this year he would welcome a return to New England.

    “That’d be interesting to see,” Branch said. “You know what, I talk to guys all the time. I never wanted to leave, nor did coach [Bill] Belichick and his staff and the organization want me to leave, either. We just couldn’t get the contractual part down. We just couldn’t come to an agreement. And that stuff happens.

    “I still love Coach Belichick and if the opportunity presents itself to come back, I would love to be there.”

    The more this guy opens his mouth, the sicker I am of him. I’d take a 6th round pick for him, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out Deion.

    That article also said this: “Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently was in touch with Seattle Seahawks receiver Deion Branch about the possibility of having him rejoin New England to fill the void created by the trade of Randy Moss to Minnesota, a league source told the Boston Globe.”

    Huh? Branch fill the void Moss left? Branch is a Welker type of receiver, not a Moss type of receiver. A guy like Brandon Tate or Aaron Hernandez will fill the Moss void.

  55. yellaman says:

    Please send Branch to NE for a 4th rd pick this would make the most sense.

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