The Patriots reacquired WR Deion Branch from Seattle on Monday, according to reports by ESPN and NFL Network, both of whom cite a league source. Both reports say that the Seahawks will receive a 2011 fourth-round draft choice in return.
Branch played in New England from 2002 through '05, earning MVP honors in the team's 24-21 win over Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX. He held out of training camp in '06 in a contract dispute, and he was traded to Seattle early that season in exchange for a first-round draft choice.
Branch's production has declined in recent years, in part because he has struggled to stay healthy. Following his career-best season of 2005 in New England, when he caught 78 passes for 998 yards and five touchdowns, he averaged only 44 receptions, 559 yards and 3.5 TDs over his first four seasons in Seattle.
In four games this season for the Seahawks, Branch had 13 catches for 112 yards and one TD.
The way we see it
Branch gives the Patriots' WR corps another veteran presence following the departure of Randy Moss to Minnesota, with Wes Welker having been the only experienced receiver on the roster prior to this deal. He knows the Patriots' system well, and he'll likely get a lot of work if he can stay on the field, because he always had a good rapport with Tom Brady.