With the Monday deadline looming to get franchise tagged players inked to long-term deals the Raiders and Tyvon Branch avoided a prolonged standoff by reportedly agreeing to terms on a four-year contract.
According to reports Branch will receive $17-million guaranteed on a deal valued at $26-million.
This is good news on all fronts. The Raiders have retained the most valued member of the defensive secondary while simultaneously freeing more cap space. No specific terms have been released but there is no doubt Branch’s contract calls for certain payment deadlines that will allow more space for Reggie McKenzie to work with as it relates to the salary cap. Under the terms of the tag applied to Branch he was slated to earn $6-million this season with the promise of a hefty raise next year. This deal drops that cap figure down now and will provide more relief going forward the multi-year contract negates the necessity to do this same dance all over again next year.
For Branch the deal provides a sense of stability as the young and talented defender won’t have to play the season under a cloud of uncertainty. It also shows that the Raiders are committed to retaining their most loyal, professional and productive players.
But don’t let the gesture fool you, this is still very much a business move.
As Jerry McDonald points out, should Branch continue to improve at the rate he’s been headed then this deal could be an absolute steal for the Raiders. Many saw the 5-year, $35-million deal signed by Michael Griffin as the blueprint for how the Raiders would compensate Branch. Branch’s deal does include more guaranteed money but pays less annually and is for one-year less than Griffin’s.
But that’s all semantics at this point. As we all know every NFL contract is really just a one-year deal. All that really matters is that Branch will be in Silver and Black for the foreseeable future.