Showing that he is a “Patriot-type” player (despite leaving originally due to a contract dispute), newly-reacquired receiver Deion Branch has reportedly taken a pay cut for next season. According to an ESPNBoston report, Branch has lowered his 2011 salary from $5.95 million to a little over $2 million. He can make up most of that money through performance incentives. Apparently, Branch fully expects to be an effective player, which is good news for Pats fans. This move benefits the Patriots in a couple of different ways.
First, it helps put the Patriots in a better position to be under the cap when it likely (hopefully) returns in 2011. Secondly, and most importantly, it frees up some money to possibly extend Wes Welker’s contract, which expires after next season. Welker is the most important receiver in the Patriot offense and he is grossly underpaid. Welker, above probably most members of the team, has a reason to gripe about his contract, but he doesn’t. At least not publicly. Next season, he will make slightly over $2 million. If the Patriots know what’s best for their players and their team, they will take care of one of their most important players and one of their best leaders. Welker does things the right way, and his comeback from ACL surgery in less than a year is truly remarkable. Pay the man!
The sacrifice of nearly $4 million by Deion Branch helps the Patriots do just that. Brady had done this in the past to help the team as well. The team is certainly getting that Super feel back to it that it had from 2001 to around 2007. Let’s hope that it translates to performance on the field.