Alan Branch, New England Patriots Reportedly Agree to 2-Year Contract

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2017

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 04:  Alan Branch #97 of the New England Patriots reacts during the first half against the Los Angeles Rams at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Defensive tackle Alan Branch will reassume his role as the New England Patriots' primary run-stuffing lineman in 2017. 

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Branch's deal is for two years and up to $12 million. Michael Giardi of Comcast SportsNet New England also reported Branch was returning to New England on a two-year contract.

Branch spent the past three seasons with the Pats as one of their top run defenders, winning two Super Bowls during his tenure.

He secured a key fumble recovery in Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons to help spark a comeback that resulted in the Pats winning 34-28 in overtime.

The 32-year-old veteran was selected in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft out of Michigan by the Arizona Cardinals before stops with the Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills.

The 2016 season was arguably Branch's most productive, as he registered a personal-best 49 tackles to go along with 1.5 sacks.

New England is known for its penchant for heavily rotating players along the defensive line, but Branch was consistently a force against the run and started 15 games last season.

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The 350-pound lineman essentially filled the same role that Vince Wilfork did for so many years with the Pats after Wilfork was let go and signed with the Houston Texans.

Although Branch has never put up big numbers nor been rewarded with a Pro Bowl nod, he has long done much of the dirty work in the trenches to win football games.

Most of Branch's contributions don't show up on the stat sheet, but he has registered 267 tackles, 10.5 sacks and five forced fumbles during his 10-year career thus far.

Branch was a major part of each of New England's past two Super Bowl victories, and due to how well he fits within the defensive system, retaining him was a wise move that should keep the Patriots near the top of the league defensively.