WEDNESDAY, 4:48pm: The Pats have formally confirmed their new deal with Branch in a team release.
SATURDAY, 6:55pm: Alan Branch will return to the Patriots, according to the Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson (via Twitter). Branch’s deal is for two years and up to $6.6MM, Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo added on Twitter.
The Patriots initially added Branch to their roster last October after the now-30-year-old defensive lineman saw a DUI arrest lead to his exit from Buffalo at the beginning of last season.
Branch started two games for the Super Bowl champions last year and was a serviceable depth cog in the playoffs, playing in at least 20 snaps in each of New England’s three contests. The Bills previously signed him to two contracts, the first a one-year deal to pry Branch away from the Seahawks in 2013 and the second a three-year extension worth $8.5MM in December 2013.
A former second-round selection in 2007, Branch’s best year came in 2011 when he was the the sixth-best defensive tackle, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Branch primarily played defensive end last season.
There could be more playing time available to Branch now after Vince Wilfork‘s release.