The Patriots have exercised Kenny Britt‘s option for 2018, but they won’t be retaining defensive lineman Alan Branch. The Patriots are parting ways with Branch, a source tells Doug Kyed of NESN (on Twitter), allowing him to become a free agent.
Branch was one of the Patriots’ top defensive performers in 2016, but he was hardly a factor in 2017. The Patriots made him a healthy scratch for an October game against the Bucs and he finished the season on the sidelines thanks to a meniscus tear. Given all of that, the Patriots were not expected to bring Branch back with a cap number of $4.55MM.
Kyed reports that the Patriots are declining Branch’s option, but Branch’s contract was previously reported as a straight-up two-year deal. In any event, it appears that the Pats will save $3.55MM by dumping Branch with just $1MM in residual dead money.
In 2016, Branch tallied a career-high 49 tackles to go along with 1.5 sacks. He ranked 25th in overall performance among Pro Football Focus’ 127 qualified interior defensive linemen that season, but this year he ranked just 98th.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.