Report: Patriots won’t pick up Alan Branch’s option

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Any mystery about whether defensive tackle Alan Branch would be in the Patriots’ lineup for Super Bowl LII went away when reporters spotted him at the food court of the Mall of America hours before the game and it looks like any mystery about his 2018 status has disappeared as well.

Doug Kyed of NESN reports that the Patriots will not be exercising Branch’s option for the coming season. Branch was inactive for the team’s final three regular season games and their first two playoff games before sitting out the Super Bowl as well.

The move clears $3.55 million of cap space for the Patriots to put to use in other ways as they build their roster for 2018.

Branch spent four years with the Patriots and started 31 games in 2015 and 2016. He played 12 games for the team last season and recorded 12 tackles.