Carroll on Branch: 'New England came after him aggressively'
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Coach Pete Carroll said the Seahawks weren't seeking out a trading partner to acquire Deion Branch.
It was more a convergence of New England's interest in re-acquiring him combined with the arrival of receiver Brandon Stokley, who becomes the team's slot specialist.
"Without Brandon Stokley coming in here, we never would have thought about it," Carroll said. "Stoke came in here and showed his ability right off the bat. Really, the background he had with Jeremy, and then his ability to come out here and prove it to us that he was ready to take over that role, really made it an opportunity for us."
So Seattle traded Branch to New England in a transaction that gave Seattle a fourth-round pick and gave the Patriots a receiver trusted by quarterback Tom Brady. As for Branch, it gave him a fresh start he wanted enough to be willing to rework his contract to more favorable terms.
"New England came after him aggressively," Carroll said. "We didn't have any intention of trading him at the time. I've come to learn that he had -- obviously with the history he had playing there -- he had in years past, some interest. He was thinking it would be fun to get back there for him."
Now, Deon Butler will become the starting flanker for Seattle, which continues the development of a player the Seahawks new coaching staff and front office weren't sure would factor into the future when they took over.
Ben Obomanu will also see more opportunities with Branch's departure.
"Butler will be the guy first up, but he and Ben will be sharing time," Carroll said.
Branch has 12 receptions, which ranks No. 2 on the team behind John Carlson. Trading him gives the team more flexibility going forward, though.
"It gives us a pick that we didn't have," Carroll said. "And it gives us some ability in free agency that we didn't have that will help us down the road."
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