One of the more popular rumors/theories/globs against the wall that might or might not stick is that the Seahawks might be cutting veteran wideout Deion Branch, for whom Seattle gave up a first-round pick and a big contract three years ago.
Some think that Branch is safe, based on generic comments from coach Jim Mora indicating that he’s pleased with his four-deep lineup of T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Nate Burleson, Deion Butler, and Branch.
But here’s the catch. Branch is scheduled to earn a base salary of $4.94 million this year. If he’s on the Week One roster, the money is essentially guaranteed.
So here’s how it might go down. Branch makes the 53-man roster as of Saturday at 6:00 p.m. ET, and then the Seahawks make Branch an offer of continued employment at a dramatically reduced salary.
As it currently stands, Branch isn’t listed as a starter. So $4.94 million is too much to pay for a backup, and that’s how they’ll explain it to Branch.
A hint that Branch will get the “take a pay cut or take a hike” ultimatum could come from the number of receivers on the roster as of Saturday night. If the Seahawks keep only five, Branch likely is safe. If they keep six, he might be in trouble.
If Seattle hangs onto seven receivers, chances are they’ll eventually drop to six — and that the guy who gets dropped could be Branch.