Andre Branch

Cardinals To Release Andre Branch

Andre Branch‘s Cardinals stay did not last too long. The team will release the veteran defensive end less than a month after signing him, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The Cardinals signed the former Jaguars and Dolphins edge player shortly after training camp began. After the Dolphins cut Branch earlier this offseason, the Cards were the only team to bring him in for a visit or workout. He combined for 10 sacks between the 2016-17 seasons but registered just 1.5 in 14 games last season.

This stands to be Branch’s age-30 season. The Cards added Terrell Suggs and Brooks Reed as Chandler Jones sidekick options. They also claimed Jeff Holland, who came to Denver as a UDFA during Vance Joseph‘s stay, with their No. 1 overall waiver priority.

Cardinals Sign Andre Branch

The Cardinals are bringing in another veteran edge defender. Former Jaguars and Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch agreed to terms with the Cardinals on a one-year deal, Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com notes.

Branch spent the past three seasons in Miami but was one of the many veterans the Dolphins jettisoned this offseason. The Cardinals recently released Matt Longacre, and Branch looks like the team’s latest veteran depth option in its Chandler Jones– and Terrell Suggs-fronted group. Branch, 30, met with the Cardinals in June.

While Branch has only played in 4-3 schemes, the Cardinals are likely adding him to rush the passer. So, his role in their 3-4 scheme likely does not stand to be too different. Branch also played under new Cardinals DC Vance Joseph in 2016. No other team was connected to the seven-year veteran this offseason.

The former second-round Jaguars pick has 25.5 career sacks (1.5 in 14 games last season). He registered 10 between the 2016 and ’17 seasons, with the Dolphins previously signing him to a three-year, $24MM deal. Branch joins Suggs and Brooks Reed as Jones complementary cogs Arizona added this year.

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Cardinals Meet With Andre Branch

Former Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch will visit the Cardinals on Thursday, a source tells NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The Cardinals have been working hard to find help in the late stages of free agency and Branch could provide veteran support for the team’s pass rush unit. 

We haven’t heard much about Branch since he was released by the Dolphins in March, but he offers an impressive resume and could be a nice value addition in the later stages of free agency. Over the last three seasons with the ‘Fins, Branch recorded 55 tackles, 11.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. Branch didn’t make sense for Miami with nearly $7MM owed to him for 2019, but he would be a solid pickup on a lesser deal for Arizona.

Armed with the top waiver priority in the NFL, the Cardinals pounced on former Browns tackle Desmond Harrison earlier this month. You can expect them to continue to use their No. 1 slot to land other worthwhile castaways while exploring low-cost vets like Branch between now and September.

Earlier this offseason, the Cardinals signed Terrell Suggs to bolster the pass rush opposite Chandler Jones. That should help the cause, but they’ll need additional firepower after shifting Haason Reddick to an off-ball role.

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Dolphins Release Ted Larsen

The Dolphins are cutting guard Ted Larsen, a league source tells Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Dolphins also made their release of defensive end Andre Branch official. Between the two cuts, the Dolphins will save $9.15MM in cap space for 2019. 

Larsen, 32 in June, joined the ‘Fins on a three-year free agent deal in March of 2017. Unfortunately, he was plagued by injuries in his first year and underperformed in 2018. Last year, Larsen graded out as the second-worst qualified guard in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. For the Dolphins, this move was something of a no-brainer – dropping the veteran meant $2.125MM in savings versus $417K in dead money.

Branch signed a three-year, $24MM deal with the Dolphins in 2017, the same year as Larsen, but he hasn’t been worth the coin. After starting all 14 of his games in 2017, the 29-year-old only started one of his 14 games in 2018. Branch finished the 2018 campaign with 25 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

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Dolphins Release DE Andre Branch

The Dolphins have made one of their first cost-cutting moves. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the team is releasing veteran pass-rusher Andre Branch.

Following an underwhelming tenure with the Jaguars, the former second-rounder joined the Dolphins back in 2016. He proceeded to sign a three-year, $24MM deal with the organization in 2017, but he hasn’t necessarily been worth the investment. After starting all 14 of his games in 2017, the 29-year-old only started one of his 14 games in 2018.

He finished the campaign with 25 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Pro Football Focus wasn’t fond of his performance in 2018, ranking him 101st among 103 eligible edge defenders. With Branch set to earn close to $7MM in 2019, the Dolphins decided to move on from the veteran.

Cameron Wake and William Hayes are set to hit free agency this summer, leaving the team with Robert Quinn, Charles Harris, and Johnathan Woodard (ERFA) as their lone defensive ends. There were rumors that the Dolphins could be frontrunners for Patriots’ lineman Trey Flowers, and the organization can hope that some of the other top free agent pass rushers (a grouping that includes DeMarcus LawrenceJadeveon ClowneyFrank Clark and Dee Ford) somehow don’t get franchised.

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Dolphins Likely To Cut Quinn, Parker

Major changes are coming in Miami. This offseason, the Dolphins are expected to cut defensive end Robert Quinn (saving $12.9MM against the cap), defensive end Andre Branch (saving $7MM, $2MM in dead money) and wide receiver DeVante Parker ($9.4MM savings), according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald

Naturally, the upheaval won’t stop there, but the Dolphins have some big decisions to make on significant contracts in the coming weeks and months. Ryan Tannehill is likely done in South Beach and players like defensive tackle Akeem Spence ($2.5MM cap savings) and guard Ted Larsen ($1.9MM) could also be dropped from the roster, Jackson hears.

And, if the Dolphins really want to turn over a new leaf, they may decide against retaining unrestricted free agents like Frank Gore and Cameron Wake and move on from receiver Danny Amendola, whose entire $6MM cap hit can be washed out. Jackson adds that the future of veterans like guard Josh Sitton and safety T.J. McDonald is also in question.

Quinn, 29 in May, came to Miami via a spring trade with the Rams. The former first-round pick notched 6.5 sacks and 38 tackles, but graded out as just the No. 42 ranked edge defender in the NFL per Pro Football Focus. Branch, meanwhile, was one of the lowest-ranked DEs out of 108 qualified players.

Parker was once viewed as the team’s future at wide receiver, but injuries have hampered his progress over the last four years. This year, he managed just 24 catches for 309 yards and a touchdown in eleven games.

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East Notes: Cowboys, Manning, Wake, Jets

Terrance Williams landed on IR after not being listed on the Cowboys‘ injury report going into Week 4. The veteran wide receiver appeared on Dallas’ Week 5 injury list, however, after a personal issue kept him out of the Cowboys-Lions game. Now, both he and Travis Frederick — also placed on IR Saturday — are out until at least the Dec. 9 game against the Eagles. As for Williams’ status with the Cowboys, it’s possible he’s played his last game with the team considering his diminished role (39 snaps in three games). For now, the team is sticking by the embattled receiver, who may face a suspension for his offseason car accident. Williams is under contract through the 2020 season. It would cost the Cowboys ($2.5MM in dead money) more to cut him than it would save them by shedding that contract in 2019, however.

With him, there’s a suspension looming out there that might or might not happen,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Friday during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan (via Pro Football Talk). “He does have some things after coming off that foot injury, which happens. When you have a foot injury, sometimes you rush it back, and you’re not quite there. And then just personal and general, some things that maybe are holding him back right now. I just think it’s a work in progress with him. We think a lot of him. He’s a fighter and competitor, we just got to get him right.”

Here’s the latest from the East divisions, shifting to a Dallas rival:

  • Eli Manning‘s play has apparently drawn scrutiny from Giants decision-makers. The 15th-year starter has not had much success down the field this season, frequently checking the ball down. “Growing frustration” has emerged with Manning’s issues in this area, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News notes. Odell Beckham Jr., during a recent interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson (via Leonard), also questioned why Manning isn’t making more downfield throws. “How come we can’t throw the ball for more than 20 yards?” Beckham asked Anderson, rhetorically. “How come we don’t attempt or try to throw the ball for more than 20 yards? Those are questions that we have to figure out.” Manning’s only completed nine 20-plus-yard passes this season, and just six of those traveled 20-plus yards through the air. Manning is completing 74 percent of his passes.
  • Josh Doctson suffered a heel injury during practice earlier in the week and is questionable for the Redskins‘ game against the Saints, per ESPN.com’s John Keim (on Twitter). He did not practice Saturday, which doesn’t bode well for the third-year wideout’s status for Monday night. Maurice Harris will start in Doctson’s place if he’s unable to go, Jay Gruden said.
  • Trumaine Johnson managed a limited practice on Thursday but did not participate Friday because of a quadriceps injury. The Jets‘ top cornerback is out for their Week 5 tilt against the Broncos. Johnson was available and in the starting lineup for each of Gang Green’s first four games, so this will be an adjustment for the 1-3 Jets.
  • The Dolphins will be without Cameron Wake on Sunday. Wake’s knee-related absence will bring second-year defensive end Charles Harris into the lineup opposite Robert Quinn, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. Miami entered the season quite deep at end but will be without Wake, William Hayes (IR) and Andre Branch this week. Wake did not travel with the team to Cincinnati.

Dolphins DE Andre Branch To Miss Time

Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch suffered a knee injury on Sunday that will cause him to miss 2-4 weeks of action, a source tells Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (on Twitter). It’s a bad blow for a Dolphins D that will also be without fellow defensive end William Hayes for the remainder of the season

The Dolphins entered the year with solid edge rushing depth, but they’ll now have to rely heavily on Charles Harris to rotate in for starting defensive ends Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn. They’ll have to add a player or two for depth, at the very least, and there aren’t a ton of impact DEs left on the open market. Robert Ayers, who had a one-day stint with the Lions in late August, is one of the most notable names left in free agency. Odds are, the Dolphins will have to settle for some less inspiring options while they wait for Branch to heal up.

Branch, 29, tallied five tackles in the first three weeks of the season. In his two previous Dolphins seasons, Branch amassed ten sacks and played mostly as a starter.

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Contract Details: Jones, Taylor, Branch, D-Jax, Bitonio, Davis

Here’s the latest on some of the latest contracts agreed to this week.

  • Chandler Jonesfive-year Cardinals extension will pay him $16.5MM per year, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets. Jones will make $53MM in guaranteed money from his second NFL contract, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports adds (on Twitter).
  • Tyrod Taylor‘s restructured Bills deal is a two-year, $30.5MM pact, La Canfora reports (on Twitter), adding that the rest of it voids after 2018. Taylor will make $15.5MM in guarantees as a result of the re-done pact and $14.5MM in 2017. La Canfora adds the quarterback stands to collect $16MM in ’18.
  • Andre Branch‘s three-year Dolphins deal is worth $24MM, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter). Volin adds the contract includes two fully guaranteed years– at $17MM — for the 27-year-old pass-rusher. Volin adds that Branch could see $3.75MM more via incentives. Branch will receive a $6MM signing bonus, make $2.9MM in base salary in 2017, $7.9MM in ’18 and $6.9MM in ’19, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • DeSean Jackson‘s Buccaneers pact will be worth approximately $11MM per year, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports.
  • Joel Bitonio‘s five-year Browns extension will pay out $47.5MM in base salary, Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com tweets, adding $23MM in guarantees are included. The new deal kicks in after Bitonio’s 2017 season, so he’s under contract in Cleveland through 2022.
  • Vernon Davis‘ second Redskins contract will include a $4MM signing bonus and $7.5MM guaranteed, Wilson tweets. His base salaries from 2017-19, respectively, are $2MM, $3.75MM and $4.75MM.
  • Courtney Upshaw re-signing with the Falcons on a one-year deal will result in $1.15MM coming his way in 2017, Wilson tweets. The defender gets a $125K signing bonus and will make $775K in base salary this season.

Dolphins Re-Sign Andre Branch

The Dolphins are re-signing pass-rusher Andre Branch on a long-term deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Terms of the deal are not yet known. It’s a three-year contract worth $27MM in total, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Cashes in after a resurgence

One report recently assessed Branch’s value at somewhere between $7MM-9MM per year. That sounded a tad high, but it turns out that was right on the money. The $9MM average annual salary will rival the $8MM earned by teammate Cameron Wake. The yearly salary would rank just outside the top-10 among NFL defensive ends.Andre Branch (vertical)

The defensive end appeared in all 16 games last season – his first perfect attendance record since 2013 – and turned in a strong year. He compiled 49 total tackles and 5.5 sacks and made eleven starts. Prior to signing, Branch was listed as our tenth-best edge defender on the open market, ahead of Julius Peppers, Charles Johnson, Datone Jones, Mario Addison, and Dwight Freeney.

Despite the expected interest, Branch was said to be a priority for Miami. Today, the Dolphins got it done. For what it’s worth, there weren’t a whole lot of teams connected to the lineman over the past few days.

Branch would have been sorely missed if he departed for another team. The Dolphins currently have a pair of defensive ends under contract in Wake and Terrence Fede.

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