Sports Outside the Beltway

Seahawks Sign Branch to $39M Deal, Pats Charge Tampering

Deion Branch has signed a six-year, $39 million deal with the Seahawks a day after being traded by the Patriots.

Deion Branch eased the pain of nearly $600,000 in fines for his holdout in New England by signing a $39 million, six-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday. The former Super Bowl MVP missed the entire preseason with the Patriots before he was traded to Seattle on Monday for a 2007 first-round draft pick. He signed the contract with the Seahawks one day later.

Branch will receive $13 million in bonus and guarantees, according to a person in the league close to the negotiations who requested anonymity because the terms had not yet been announced. About $23 million is due to Branch in the first three years of the deal, likely making him a fixture in Seattle’s currently crowded passing game.

Branch’s former team smells something fishy (same link-sidebar).

The Patriots have asked the NFL to look into possible tampering by the Jets over New York’s attempt to obtain wide receiver Deion Branch, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports. A league source confirmed that the grievance was filed by the Patriots last week.

According to reports out of Boston, the Patriots are contending that trade talks were intended to be solely between the teams and the fact that Branch’s representatives knew what the Jets offered in a trade compromised New England’s ability to keep the wide receiver.

I don’t know what the rules are in this regard, so the Seahawks may well have violated them. Still, it’s rather absurd to think that a team would offer to trade–let alone give up a 1st round pick–for Branch, who was holding out over a lack of a long term contract without making sure they could sign him to a long term deal.

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