Report: Alan Branch, Patriots Agree To One-Year Contract For D-Line Depth

NFL: Preseason-Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh SteelersThe New England Patriots were busy adding pieces to their defensive front seven Tuesday.

The Patriots are expected to sign free-agent defensive tackle Alan Branch, The Boston Globe’s Shalise Manza Young reported Tuesday evening. That news came after Young reported that defensive end Chandler Jones is expected to miss a month with a hip injury. The Patriots reportedly are acquiring linebacker Akeem Ayers from the Tennessee Titans, too.

Branch was cut by the Buffalo Bills in August one day after being charged with a DUI. Branch also has spent time with the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks in his seven-year NFL career.

The Patriots could elect to replace Jones in the starting defense with a bigger player like Branch as the team transitions to a 3-4 alignment full time. Branch is a solid run defender, and he has experience as a defensive end in a three-man front.

Branch’s addition, paired with Jones’ absence, could make the Patriots stronger against the run but much weaker in pass rush.

UPDATE (8:30 p.m.): Branch agreed to a one-year contract with the Patriots, a source told NFL Media’s Albert Breer.

Photo via Jason Bridge/USA TODAY Sports Images

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