Alan Branch has a good thing going in New England. He plays in a system that fits his style perfectly. He has solid relationships with the coaching staff and ownership. He was given a chance at a fresh start in 2014, and he's turned that into two Super Bowl titles and a career year in 2016.
That both the Patriots and Branch want to make sure the 6-foot-6, 350-pounder remains in town comes as no surprise, and it seems like they're on the verge of making sure that happens.
According our Mike Giardi, Branch is close to finalizing a two-year deal to return to the Patriots.
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Branch, 32, was considered by Bill Belichick to be the most consistent interior defensive lineman on the team this season. He played more snaps up front for the Patriots defense than any other player and was a force against opposing running games.
Belichick admitted last season that a player with Branch's frame and athleticism can be hard to find so it makes sense that they would be aggressive in their effort to keep him.
"Ted Washington had that kind of length and size," Belichick said. "Ted was 6-5, but Alan moves better than Ted . . . did at that point in his career. We're had some other longer guys like Richard [Seymour] or guys like that, but they weren't 350 pounds.
"There's not too many of them. Gerard Warren was a big guy that ran well. Money was a very athletic player who wasn't quite as long as Branch but moving into that range."
According to NFL Media, Branch's deal is worth "up to $12 million."