Chance of Branch waning?


Brandon Marshall’s landing in Miami may have hurt the Patriots in more ways than one.

Seattle was long considered a top suitor for Marshall, being the first team to bringing him in for a visit and considering signing him to an offer sheet before any trade scenario arose. The Seahawks were involved until the very end.

Without Marshall, Seattle has three viable targets for Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst — Proven targets T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch, and rising youngster Deon Butler. Yes, there’s a chance the team uses the 14th pick on a player like Dez Bryant, but even then, it’s hard to see the Seahawks leaving themselves without depth, given that they already have it on the roster.

Then, there’s Pete Carroll’s impressions of Branch after his first minicamp as Seahawks coach.

“Deion Branch had a very good three days,” Carroll said. “He showed up and showed off a little bit today. He was making plays. He had a good time playing with us. He’s
going to have a big role in the offense and I think he recognizes that
and really embraces it and is excited about what is going on.”

The issue here has always been Branch’s 2010 base salary of $5.47 million.

But there’s no cap, Paul Allen still owns the Seahawks — giving Carroll, GM John Schneider and Co. some measure of financial freedom — and this receiver figures to play a pretty big role, which could go a long way to justifying the expense.

“Knowing his past and history as a playmaker, we have to go to him. He’s just too well equipped,” Carroll said. “He’s in great shape, he’s worked out hard and performed beautifully in this camp as a first step. He showed that all of those thoughts we had about him coming in are legit. It’s really hard to evaluate a guy when he’s been banged up.


“You can have these expectations, but he can’t meet ‘em because he’s not right. He’s right now and hopefully we’ll get him healthy throughout the season and away we go with it.”

So for now, the Branch Watch is out, and the Patriots will have to look elsewhere to supplement their receiving corps.

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