I am happy for this trade. Seattle has depth at wide receiver and though Williams, Tate, Butler and Obomanu are not better than Branch currently is, Stokely is close, and given Matt Hasselbeck's remaining talent and skills, it's so close to a push it's not worth haggling over. So, Seattle escapes an expensive contract and recoups a fourth round pick. Good business. Good on John Schneider.
I am also happy for Deion Branch. Branch's greatest sin is injury. His second greatest sin is costing too much. His third greatest sin is joining a declining offense. He wasn't a bad teammate. He didn't, at least to my knowledge, half-ass plays like I have seen from other Seahawks receivers. He played hard, and if he wasn't ever a very good receiver for Seattle, he was the Seahawks most talented receiver for a few seasons. Branch contributed to a couple playoff runs and a couple playoff games. He had some big games, but not a ton. He was a disappointment as an acquisition, but, well, it happens.
Branch joins New England and now has a chance to put the last few years behind him and revive his career. I imagine even the most ardent Branch "haters" expect him to perform a lot better in New England's offense than he ever did in Seattle's. For all the anger directed at Branch, I'm sure Deion himself amassed a little reciprocal resentment, and I hope he can prove some people wrong. People that hate players, hate players on their own team, confuse me.
Which is why the 450 comment thread linked to Vasilii's fanpost is the first thread I have not bothered to click into, and I am not sure I will bother to click into, in the history of Field Gulls. People do not like stranger, Seahawk, Deion Branch. It's been fueled by some. I know Danny O'Neil and Doug Farrar were particularly critical of Branch and the trade. And even if we factor in Branch's contributions, the fourth Seattle has now received in return, the fourth Seattle received for trading Darrell Jackson, it's pretty cut and dry that Seattle spent too much for Branch. The move made sense at the time, or can at least be justified, but in total it's probably a losing trade.
If you're curious though, the pick Seattle traded, 24th overall, is worth 33 AV on average. Branch was worth 17 over four seasons, not counting this season. A fourth round pick is worth between 15 and 12 AV. That means, ignoring that Branch made Jackson expendable, Branch's contributions and the expectedcontributions of the pick Seattle will receive in return for Branch, is worth about as much as Branch cost originally. There's other factors, and this isn't meant to justify the original trade, something I did long ago, but it does mean Seattle was not ruined by the Branch trade. If anything, Seattle traded for a polished player when it thought it was a contender, and moved that player for a young, cheap player now that it's not.
As I hinted in a rumor thread, I did pick up Branch in Scruffy's Field Gulls Invitational League. Not for nothing, but the Seahawks FO seems pretty transparent about planned transactions, and in the world of negotiation, transparency is rarely a good thing. I can't remember a rumored move by Seattle that Seattle did not at least explore, and it seems most have come to fruition. Schneider certainly has a lot of strong qualities, but I do think his inexperience as a negotiator shows itself.
Anyway, this is a good ending to a drawn out, controversial decision, and it seems that Seattle is better for having moved Branch, Branch is better for joining another team and New England is better for improving its talent at wide receiver. Football doesn't get much more fair.