Adam Schefter is reporting the Seahawks have reached an agreements with former Arizona Cardinals DE Alan Branch. It is reportedly a two year, $8 million deal with $4 million guaranteed. It seems we're fond of two-year $8 million deals. It's a little more than I predicted he'd be getting (up to $3 million), but the contract is also shorter, so I'm guessing that's a bit of a trade-off as we got him on a tryout contract.
Danny has talked about Branch before, which much of the intrigue stemming from his performance against us in week 7 (5 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF). Branch didn't register a sack for the rest of the year, only one more forced fumble, and never registers as a tackling machine (but 3-4 linemen rarely do). Branch had 3 starts for the Cardinals last year, two of them late in the year. He didn't have any other starts in his career as a Cardinal, and was probably a bit of a bad fit for their 3-4 defense (most of their defensive players are). As the first pick of the 2nd round in 2007, he can only be described as a bust for the Cardinals.
So we're looking at another one of Pete Carroll's reclamation projects. Where does Branch fit for us? At 6'6 and listed as 338 lbs, Branch was drafted as a nose tackle and will certainly provide depth for us at the spot. He did show strength off the edge in that game against the Seahawks and I agree with Danny that our primary interest is in having him play our 5-tech spot. He can compete for a starting position at either spot and hopefully learn to play both, which would go a long way to get value out of the signing.
Branch is 26 years old and no doubt has some potential, which I'm basing just on his draft position and his flashes against us. We'll do some more extensive write-ups on him later. Doug Farrar notes he played very well in rotation. For now, I'll just say this is an excellent depth signing, which was still a huge need for both the 5-tech and 1-tech, as well as a possible starter.
We paid more than I was hoping for, but not to a cap-crippling extent. Our original cap space was either $39 or $29 million depending on who you ask, with an $3 million veteran buffer if we need it. We cleared up an extra $6 million by cutting Stacy Andrews. Taking a wild guess, I'm saying we've spent about $30 million so far, including rookie signings. If ESPN's numbers are correct, we still have to space to go after Mebane, and even if McIntyre's lower numbers are correct we can still manage with a bit of creative cap management. Danny O'Neil reports we're still in it for Mebane.