Alan Branch heads to Buffalo, Cardinals get Carson Palmer

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent DT Alan Branch has signed with the Buffalo Bills, Ian Rapoport reports. Branch, who also had interest from Jacksonville, where Seahawks' former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is now the head coach, signed a one-year deal in Buffalo for $3M plus up to $350k in incentives. The Bills have a pretty beefy defensive line now, by the way. Marcel Dareus, Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Mark Anderson, and now Branch.

Regardless, a pretty tepid market for free agent defensive tackles forced Branch's hand a bit, it appears, and apparently he'll play on a one-year deal and hope the market next season is more robust. As it relates to the Seahawks, it's apparent too that Seattle was unwilling to give Branch more than $3M a year to the player that started 31 of 32 regular season games for the Hawks over the past two years. Does this signal a move away from the giant run-plugging 3-technique defensive tackle scheme the Hawks have favored over the past few years? Perhaps. With a new defensive coordinator in Dan Quinn possibly looking to change things up, Branch evidently became less of a priority.

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With Matt Flynn going to Oakland as the Raiders presumptive starter (and getting a raise, curiously enough), Carson Palmer has been shipped down to the desert, where he'll make up to $16M over the next two years, with $10M guaranteed. According to Kent Somers, the trade means "the Cardinals are sending the second of their two sixth-round picks (176th) overall in exchange for Oakland's seventh rounder (219th). So the Cardinals move down 43 spots in the draft."

This is a move that will probably be overlooked among all the flurry of activity in NFL free agency this offseason, but I do think Palmer is a clear upgrade over the dreck that inhabited the quarterback position for the Cardinals last year. Palmer threw for over 4,000 yards on a terrible Raiders team, but could see some improvement in 2013 with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd to throw to.

Palmer is prone to interceptions, but, in my mind, makes the Cardinals better. They'll probably look now to finding offensive linemen to protect him.

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