The former Oakland Raiders safety was released by his old team a week ago, and hit the open market.
Despite the fact that the Oakland Raiders were trying to rebuild their defense around talented young players, they ended up releasing safety Tyvon Branch last Friday. It wasn’t long before Branch drew interest from a team in need of secondary help.
Branch also visited the Indianapolis Colts yesterday, and would project to fill in a starting role. He would likely be replacing the incredibly named Winston Guy, which is a sad day for fans of fun names but would be a major upgrade for the Colts on the third level of the defense
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Tyvon Branch was among the top strong safeties in the NFL. His particular strength was playing inside the box against the run, while in coverage he was simply an average starter.
Unfortunately for Branch, he suffered consecutive season ending injuries shortly after signing a new contract that counted over $7 million against the cap for the Oakland Raiders. He suffered a fractured foot last year in week 3 against the New England Patriots, and in 2013 fractured his fibula in week 2, leaving him with only five games played in two years.
However, in his previous five seasons with Oakland, Branch was able to compile load of tackles, especially in run support, and he proved invaluable to helping Oakland maintain a stout defense.
The injury concerns are collectively the major issue for Washington, who would be hoping that Branch can play beside Duke Ihenacho in the secondary. In 2012, Washington was hoping for a punishing strong safety when they picked up former Patriot and Bear Brandon Meriweather. Instead they got an amateur assassin with zero coverage skills, so they hope that Branch can provide some stability.
Washington has experienced some misfortune in free agency before, picking up big names like Albert Haynesworth, Adam Archuleta and Antwaan Randle El within the past 15 years that have not panned out. Picking up the possibly undervalued Branch could end up being the type of shrewd move that Washington could need to make their franchise so much less painful to watch.
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