Branch not replacing Moss on the long ball suits Brady and company just as well, as the latter has won three Super Bowls without the steady deep threat ability of a Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco or other star wide receiver in his arsenal. Remember, Branch was the closest Brady got to that deep threat before Moss, but he wasn't great at it, as he didn't have the hands and accuracy in catching the deep ball that a Moss or Ochocinco had and still has.
All in all, it's great to have Deion Branch back in New England, and Brady reportedly wanted it to happen as a Moss trade became imminent. But he's not the same receiver he was several years ago. Still, the Pats are going to need this former MVP no matter what his role is, both on and off the field, as he is well regarded as a great locker room guy.
Branch is currently making around $5.5 million and is due nearly $6 million in 2011. Let's just hope that when it comes time for contract talks, Branch doesn't put up a stink like Moss did, and that he too did last time around with the Pats, and that he really does mean it when he says he is willing to "rework" his contract in order to stay "home" in New England. That verbal agreement is likely a good reason Belichick got him back here (in addition to urgently replacing Moss with a veteran body).
But first, Branch, who will wear #84 (since Welker has his old #83) has to make it through the whole season healthy, something he hasn't done since 2006. If he doesn't, all bets (and contract extension talks) are off on his future in New England.
Photo credit: Boston.com