More on Branch
Negotiations regarding a contract extension for wide receiver Deion Branch took an unexpected turn today, with the Patriots allowing Branch to seek a trade. The team is also allowing Branch to negotiate a contract with other teams up to Sept. 1.
Negotiations between the two sides have been dead for some time. Branch is in the final year of a five-year contract he signed as a rookie in 2002, but has held out of training camp. Branch could be fined $14,000 per day, should the Patriots choose to take that course of action.
The breakdown in talks traces to May, when the Patriots attempted to spark negotiations by offering Branch a contract extension through 2009. The offer included a $4 million signing bonus and $4 million option bonus payable in 2007. Branch's base salary for 2006 would be $1.045 million, followed by salaries of $1.4 million in 2007, $4.3 million in 2008, and $4.75 million in 2009. The deal also included workout bonuses of $300,000.
Over the four years of the deal, Branch would be paid just shy of $5 million per year. Assessing only the three years added to the original contract, plus bonus money, Branch would be averaging about $6.25 million per year.
One source said the sides were in different stratospheres at the time.
Branch’s representatives indicated that Branch would report to training camp if the team agreed not to place the franchise tag on Branch after the 2006 season, which would allow him to enter unrestricted free agency.
Earlier this week, Branch spoke with CBS4 and said: “I’m pretty sure everything is going to work out.” He also noted that he’s watched the Patriots’ first two exhibition games and felt the team looked good, but would look better “when and if” he returned.