Deion Branch Being Shopped By Seattle Seahawks, But What's in Return?

Ed ManginiContributor IOctober 8, 2010

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Wide receiver Deion Branch #83 of the Seattle Seahawks tosses the ball to fans after scoring a touchdown against the San Diego Chargers at Qwest Field on September 26, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Chargers 27-20. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Earlier this week Seattle sacrificed a fourth round pick on 2011 and a conditional 2012 pick to obtain estranged RB Marshawn Lynch from the nosediving Buffalo Bills.

Lynch provides a much needed boost to the Seahawks ground attack, and finds familiarity in the backfield with former U of Cal tandem partner Justin Forsett.

The upside to the trade is an immediate impact to the anorexic running game. The downside being that the 'Hawks sacrifice two draft picks that are gems in the hand of master talent appraiser Pete Carroll.

It wasn't long before the Lynch trade was ancient history and Randy Moss was dealt to the Vikings.

Rumors of a Vincent Jackson-Logan Mankins trade flooded the web shortly after, despite being scoffed at by many pundits.

These rumors dovetailed into the stories of Deion Branch, the oft-injured receiver, being shopped by the Seahawks to a possible return to the New England Patriots.

It's presumed that the immediate impact made by Brandon Stokley in the Seahawks loss to the Rams has made Branch expendable.

If the Seahawks are looking to shop Branch, the question on everyone's mind is what do we get in return?

Many fans might agree that Seattle gets to unload an overpaid/underproductive receiver. However, satisfaction isn't a tangible commodity for rebuilding team.

One thought is that Seattle might obtain a draft pick in exchange for Branch, which would actually recoup some of the costs of netting Lynch from the Bills. It's hard to imagine a very profitable draft pick under the circumstances considering that New England just dealt Randy Moss for the Vikings 2011 third round pick.

Seattle would achieve a fifth or sixth round pick in return at best based on performance, as well as end up eating a solid portion of Branch's bloated salary.

Despite Branch's lack of "elite" numbers, he's still one of their starting wideouts. I can't imagine that Seattle is going to find a starter in the fifth or sixth round next year (although with Pete Carroll, it's certainly possible).

Some might say that this could be an opportunity for New England to unload the disgruntled Mankins. Seattle fans certainly couldn't argue, as Mankins is a top notch offensive lineman with the ability to play both offensive guard or tackle.

This would generate a lot of options on Seattle's offensive line. It would be an upgrade over Gibson or Hamilton at guard, and allow Stacy Andrews to move to right tackle as he was initially intended. 

There are a few road blocks to this situation however.

First of all, Mankins hasn't reported to the Patriots, and there is no guarantee that he is going to report to Seattle. I would imagine that Mankins would require a deal established prior to the trade. Given that Seattle is in the rebuilding phase, I find it very hard to believe that they would invest the numbers that Mankins is looking for.

Secondly, Mankins is a much higher value player than Branch. In order for this kind of deal to go down, there is a good chance that Seattle would end up having to eat both salaries to balance the equation.

Keep in mind that Seattle is still paying out a pretty hefty chunk of change for T.J. Houshmandzadeh this season.

With nine days left before the end of the trade deadline, there is plenty of time for deals to be made. I feel that on October 19, if no deal is made Seattle will either sit on Branch or give him his pink slip.