Deion Branch on the Block?

NFL News And RumorsAnalyst IMay 15, 2009

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 07:  Wide receiver Deion Branch  #83 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots on December 7, 2008 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

It would not be a surprise to the donners of bright green that Seattle Seahawks WR Deion Branch is rumored to be on the trading block.

Branch has been a disappointment ever since the Seahawks coughed up a first-round pick for the former New England Patriots Super Bowl MVP in 2006. They promptly followed this high price tag by dolling out a six-year, $39 million contract. 

His most productive season was actually the first season he came to Seattle: He hauled in 53 catches for 725 yards and 4 TD's. 

In his Seahawks tenure he has averaged a modest 44 catches a season, 13.3 YPC, and has a total of 12 TD's, in 32 games started. 

When on the field he has been moderately productive, but he has missed 15 games during his three years with the team.

He has not come close to living up to the high expectations his lofty price tag, and contract entail.

The Seahawks recently signed top available FA WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh to headline the WR corps. 

In this years NFL Draft, Seattle traded fourth, fifth, and next years third round pick to nab speedy Penn State. WR Deon Butler in the third round. Butler officially clocked in at 4.32 at the NFL Combine and ran times as fast as 4.28 in pre-draft workouts.

These two additions, with WR Nate Burleson coming off a devastating knee injury (missed 15 games in 2008) could possibly make Branch expendable. 

If the Seahawks hang onto Branch, they could arguably have the deepest four WR set in the league depending on how Butler pans out. 

They could always add another FA into the mix if a trade ensues.

D.J. Hackett, the former Seahawk, was recently released from Carolina and had his most productive play with Seattle.

Darrell Jackson (I don't know why they have not yet) was released from the Broncos and had a tremendous rapport with Pro Bowl QB Matt Hasselbeck.

Joe Jurevicius caught 10 TD's in his one season with the team in 2005. 

Amani Toomer is a reliable veteran WR who could be very effective in a No. 4 WR spot.

Marvin Harrison, Koren Robinson, Brandon Lloyd, Ashlie Lelie, Ike Hilliard, Justin McCariens are other FA WR's. All could be had in the latter stages of FA. 

Because of his annual salary of roughly $6.5 million, it is unlikely Seattle would seek, or be able to obtain draft picks for Branch. A straight up trade for a player with a similar salary would most likely commence if a deal were to happen.

The Seahawks have done a fantastic job filling holes in FA, and the only positions I could see them going for are S, RB, and OL. 

A pair of names that comes to mind are disgruntled Jets RB's Thomas Jones, and Leon Washington. 

Both are unhappy with their contracts, and it is less then likely both will get the salary hike they are seeking. Both are looking for contracts in the $5-6 million range.

Unless your the San Diego Chargers, teams are less inclined to carry to a pair of high priced RB's on their roster.

The Jets also recently cut former starting WR Laveranues Coles (Bengals), a void they have not filled in FA. 

Branch would complement Jets' No. 1 WR Jerricho Cotchery perfectly. Cotchery is a possession WR, while Branch is more of a quick, elusive, Coles-esque WR.

The Jets would effectively trade one of their disgruntled RB's, most likely Jones, and pay the salary to a position they could use a competent starter at. They would also still have their starting back, who would be paired with rookie RB Shonn Green.

The Seahawk's would obtain a true feature back they desperately need. Julius Jones (they're brothers) is the current Seattle feature back slated to handle the majority of the carries. He had a solid 4.4 YPC in his first season with the team in 2008.

But brother Thomas led the AFC in rushing with 1,312 last season, and averaged 4.5 YPC last season. Common sense would lead to choosing the latter. 

Thomas would be the starter and could be the final piece to completely revamping a disappointing 4-12 2008 campaign. With the exception of the OL, this team is looking better then the 2005 Super Bowl team.

Seattle, put the bow on top of a brilliant offseason, trade the disappointment, and gain another feature RB.


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