Seahawks, Branch Completing New Contract
Wide receiver Deion Branch and his agent, Jason Chayut, are in Seattle today to complete a six-year, $39 million contract with the Seahawks. The deal includes about $13 million in bonus money. The Seahawks traded a first-round draft pick to the New England Patriots on Monday to obtain Branch.
Branch had been holding out and was entering the final season of a contract with the Patriots that was to pay him a salary of just more than $1 million this year. He had rejected an extension offered by the Patriots worth about $18.75 million over three seasons, including $8 million in bonuses.
The Patriots apparently will try to force Branch to pay approximately $600,000 in fines accumulated during his holdout.
The trade resolves the grievance and special master case that the NFL Players Association filed on Branch's behalf, contending that the Patriots acted improperly by refusing to trade Branch to the New York Jets for a second-round draft choice and failed to bargain in good faith with him on a new contract.
The Patriots reportedly are filing a tampering charge against the Jets with the league office. The Patriots maintain that they gave Branch and Chayut permission to negotiate contract terms with other teams but not trade terms and the Jets ruined the Patriots' chance of retaining Branch by telling Branch and Chayut they were offering a second-round selection for him.
The league office, however, has ruled in past cases that granting a player permission to negotiate contract terms with other teams goes hand in hand with granting a player permission to pursue a trade, and the tampering charge is unlikely to lead to anything.
But the charge does rekindle the old animosity between the Patriots and Jets dating to their entanglements over coaches Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. The Jets' current first-year coach, Eric Mangini, is a Belichick protÃ©gÃ© who was the Patriots' defensive coordinator last season, but that hasn't kept the hostilities from resuming. The two teams play one another Sunday in Giants Stadium.
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