Carroll: Branch Is a "Big-Time Player"

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll continues to sign the praises of wide receiver Deion Branch (left).

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Matt Hasselbeck was still his team's starting quarterback, discussed the Seahawks' interest in Denver Broncos restricted free agent wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Carroll discussed the draft prospects of University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and, courtesy of Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald, Carroll had nothing but positive things to say about wide receiver Deion Branch.

"He's a big-time player," Carroll said of Branch. "I've seen him now on the field, throwing the ball around with a few players the couple days I was out (in Seattle). He's gifted. He's a natural player. He's got terrific quickness. He's got all the instincts. Terrific hands. With a good personality.

"The way he finished last year, the last 4 games of the year, he really looked good," Carroll added. "He looked like a really good football player. It took him a little bit to get comfortable last year coming back from the stuff he dealt with. Once he got going, he looked like a very good player. Hopefully, we can utilize his talents and make sure he's going to be a big factor for us."

The Seahawks presently have $15.6M in base salary tied up to wide receivers, the second-highest total for any position group on the team, behind only the $19M+ the offensive line will earn, which includes $7.3M for left tackle Walter Jones. If they add Brandon Marshall, that figure will approach or exceed $25 million dollars.

At that point, $5.47M for a soon-to-be 31-year old "5-9" receiver on a team looking to get younger and bigger at the position, wouldn't make much sense and the Seahawks would look to move him.

Until then, though, expect Pete Carroll to take a rosy approach with Deion Branch. Especially if doing so might yield a future draft pick from a team willing to acquire him.

In addition to writing for, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you'd like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here. Top Stories