New England Patriots release Deion Branch

Veteran wide receiver Deion Branch once again finds himself in the free agent waters, as the New England Patriots have dropped the 33-year-old and former Super Bowl MVP. The Patriots likely released Branch in order to bring up Greg Salas from the practice squad, whom they have invested a draft pick in after acquiring him from the St. Louis Rams in what was a solid trade for New England.

Salas seems to be highly valued by the organization, because the Patriots protected him on the practice squad by increasing his salary so that other teams could not poach him. He has the makings of a solid possession receiver and has more to offer to this team than Branch does.

Last week against the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots gave Deion Branch eight targets to work with in his most heavily-used game. He flopped big time and was the LVP on offense by averaging just 3.75 yards per target. Branch’s veteran know-how in run blocking was seen and he is still good in that regard, but his performance as a pass-catcher shows that he’s nearing the end of the line.

That’s not big news or anything, and I would much rather give Salas the playing time. It’s going to be tough to see Branch go, but I have a feeling the parting of ways won’t be for too long. He should rejoin the team at some point in the future, but there is no doubt that Salas has more upside and is the better player at this point in time. We are all appreciative of what Branch has done for the franchise and will miss his veteran leadership down the stretch, but talent is the primary factor in winning games. Salas has more talent.

Add in the fact that he is suffering from hamstring issues, and the decision to promote Salas from the practice squad and release Branch makes even more sense.

Let’s see which team claims Branch off of waivers.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Deion Branch Greg Salas New England Patriots

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  • Paul V. Suffriti

    If Branch has hamstring issues, not sure if another team will sign him. If Salas becomes a plus to the Pats offense then Branch will not return to the team. I believe Branch will retire at the end of the season.

    • Joe Soriano

      Retire? I don’t think that’s going to happen yet. By the way, Branch cleared waivers. Looks like you were right.

      • Paul V. Suffriti

        Branch will only play with the Pats if half of their WRs go down with injuries. Branch is not a true wideout receiver. He cannot beat a cornerback and get separation. He is a good route running receiver. Pats have plenty, Wes, Julian, Lloyd. Branch could be a slot receiver for another team but his body would not last long taking hits over the middle. I’ll stand by my statement that Branch will retire next year. He only has chemistry with Brady and that ship has sailed. Pats will draft or sign a FA speedster deep threat WR next year with the money they will save by not signing Wes to a huge contract. Julian will be the slot receiver that Brady will target next season. Remember, Wes was just an average receiver before he hooked up with Brady. Big upside with Julian.

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