The New England Patriots reportedly are close to locking up one of their most productive defensive players.
Defensive tackle Alan Branch and the Patriots are finalizing a two-year, $12 million contract that will keep the 32-year-old in Foxboro, according to multiple reports. Branch, who has been with the Patriots since 2014, is set to become an unrestricted free agent Thursday afternoon.
CSNNE’s Mike Giardi was the first to report the impending signing, and NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported the terms of the deal.
Branch had the best season of his career in 2016, setting a career high with 49 tackles and serving as the leader of New England’s otherwise youthful defensive line. He was especially effective in the postseason, racking up 14 tackles over three games en route to a Super Bowl title.
While the Patriots need to address the edge rusher position this offseason, Branch re-signing solidifies the interior of their defensive line, which also features promising 23-year-olds Malcom Brown and Vincent Valentine.
UPDATE (2:01 p.m. ET): ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported Branch has agreed to the new deal.
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