Branch, 32, is in his second stint with the Patriots and started 15 games last season, catching 51 passes for 702 yards and five touchdowns. He was originally a second-round pick in 2002, playing for the Seahawks from 2006 until the October trade deadline in 2010, when he was reacquired by New England.
The Patriots now have their top four receivers, including tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and wide receiver Wes Welker under contract for 2012. In addition, the Patriots restructed the contract of Chad Ochocinco and signed free agents Brandon Lloyd and Anthony Gonzalez.
The team also announced signing free agent fullback Tony Fiammetta, a fourth-round pick in 2009 who played for the Panthers for two seasons and was with the Cowboys in 2011.
Fullback Spencer Larsen also signed. He played for the Broncos since Denver drafted him 183rd overall in 2008, playing linebacker and fullback for two seasons
More from the Team's Press Release: (Full release on Patriots.com)
Branch, 5-9, 195 pounds, who will enter his 11th NFL season in 2012, has played in 130 games with 107 starts and accumulated 502 receptions for 6,499 yards and 39 touchdowns. He has played in 15 postseason games with 13 starts and has 62 receptions for 932 yards and four touchdowns. His 24 receptions in three Super Bowls are third all time to the 33 by Jerry Rice (four Super Bowls) and the 27 by Andre Reed (four Super Bowls). Branch totaled 21 receptions in two Super Bowl (XXVIII and XXXIX) victories with New England. Branch tallied a team-high 10 receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots' 32-29 Super Bowl win over the Carolina Panthers and was named Super Bowl MVP after tying a Super Bowl record with 11 receptions for 133 yards in the Patriots' 24-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Fiammetta, 25, is a veteran of three NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers (2009-10) and Dallas Cowboys (2011). The 6-0, 242-pounder originally entered the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick (128th overall) of Carolina out of Syracuse in the 2009 NFL Draft. He was released by Carolina on Sept. 3, 2011 and was claimed off waivers by Dallas on Sept. 5, 2011. Last season he played in 10 games with six starts for the Cowboys and finished with four rushing attempts for four yards and three receptions for 39 yards. In three NFL season, Fiammetta has played in 34 games with 17 starts and has 11 rushing attempts for 26 yards and eight receptions for 73 yards.
Larsen, 28, spent the last four seasons with the Denver Broncos after joining the team as a sixth round draft pick (183rd overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft out of Arizona. The 6-2, 243-pounder was used as a fullback and a linebacker during his first two seasons with the Broncos before settling in as a fullback over the last two seasons. As a rookie in 2008, he became just the fourth player since 1990 to start on both offense (fullback) and defense (linebacker) in the same game at Atlanta on Nov. 16.
NFL Draft News
Material from the Sports Xchange and team sources was used in this report.