Jacksonville Jaguars 2016 Offseason: Could Andre Branch be coming back?
All eyes are aimed towards Indianapolis as the totality of decision makers in the NFL are congregated at the 2016 NFL draft scouting combine, but there are still other things happening around the league. Teams are still trying to work out deals with impending free agents and the Jaguars are no exception.
If anything, the Jaguars are expected to cut more players than they re-sign, but general manager David Caldwell already made a move by re-signing backup quarterback Chad Henne. Bringing Henne backs makes sense, even if his contract is a little pricey. After Henne, there really isn’t anyone the Jaguars should focus on bringing back, at least at a high cap number.
One guy who never lived up to his pedigree as a second round pick is defense end Andre Branch. Outside of a few splash plays last year, Branch coupled with Chris Clemons to make up arguably the worst pass rushing tandem in the entire NFL. Branch just never developed and doesn’t really hold value for the team. There’s no reason for the Jaguars to spend the time or money offering him a new contract.
The analysts over at NFL Mocks recently posted a huge mock offseason article and David Holmes projects the Jaguars re-signing not only Branch, but also Stefen Wisniewski and Bryan Anger.
"Chad Henne – 2-year, $8 million"
"Andre Branch – 4-year, $20 million"
"Stefan Wisniewski – 5-year, $25 million"
"Bryan Anger – 2-year, $2 million"
"Clay Harbor – 2-year, $3 million"
"The Jaguars were fortunate this off-season, having the most available cap space in the NFL with just over $79 million dollars. This allowed the team to focus on bringing back both solid depth players and starters on both sides of the ball. Bring ing back Chad Henne provides Bortles with a solid veteran back-up, and bringing back starting center Stefan Wisniewski allows the Jaguars to focus elsewhere in the draft and free agency. Andre Branch solidifies the depth along the defensive line while Bryan Anger helps out the special teams."
Bringing Andre Branch back at all is a curious proposition, but handing him a deal worth $5 million per year is just ludicrous. Branch is a bottom of the roster player at this point and would not start for any other team in the NFL. Branch could provide “depth,” but not at that price.
Unless the Jaguars whiff on every single defensive line free agent on the market, I don’t expect Branch back in Jacksonville.