Branch trade rumors should be no surprise

Published on October 8, 2010 by     T.C.

Of course there are reports circulating today that the Patriots and Seahawks have had at least preliminary discussions about a trade involving wide receiver Deion Branch.

This one makes sense on so many levels it would be more surprising if the two teams weren’t talking.

For starters, it’s Thursday and Seahawks GM John Schneider has now gone a full 24 hours without making a roster move.

Secondly, New England just traded away Randy Moss and the Seahawks just added Brandon Stokley, so numerically it makes sense for the Patriots to pick up their old receiver and for Seattle to move someone from its crowded core of pass catchers.

Thirdly, while Branch has disappointed in Seattle, he was loved in Boston as a Super Bowl MVP and favorite target of Tom Brady’s before contract demands got in the way.

Fourthly, Branch clearly isn’t part of the Seahawks’ long-term plans at 31. And while coach Pete Carroll has sung his praises at every turn and Branch has played more snaps than any other Seattle receiver in the first four weeks, he’s still totaled just 13 catches for 112 yards and one touchdown.

Fifthly, I stood at Seahawks practice on Wednesday and watched Golden Tate make four very nice catches in a matter of 30 minutes. Twice the rookie went up high between two receivers and came down with beautiful, tumbling catches. Once he caught a ball tipped by a defender, plucking it in stride and turning a bad play into a good one with his quick instincts.

And on the last one, he did a full spin to pull in a ball thrown behind him on an out route.

These are the kind of athletic plays Tate has shown regularly in practice since he arrived in Seattle. At some point, the Seahawks need to take off the training wheels and get him on the field.

And finally, Schneider loves to accumulate draft picks, but just gave up a fourth-rounder in 2011 and a fifth- or sixth in 2012 to acquire Marshawn Lynch. You can bet he’d love to recoup at least one pick in a deal for Branch, though I’d guess the yield would be more like a sixth- or seventh-rounder.

So while it might just be preliminary discussions, this one fits for every possible reason. So stay tuned.

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