The Oakland Raiders currently have two players who have not signed tenders that were placed on them this off season. Strong safety Tyvon Branch was given the franchise tag, and fullback Marcel Reece was given an exclusive rights tender. However, today, profootballtalk.com is reporting that the Raiders starting strong safety, Tyvon Branch, will sign his franchise tag.
There had been rumors recently that the Raiders were going to attempt and sign Branch to a long term deal, however, nothing has materialized since then. Branch is with out a doubt the Raiders best player in their secondary. He has consistently produced for the Raiders and for the past two seasons, has been knocking on the door of the Pro Bowl. This could be one of Branch's strongest years as he will have the opportunity to play under a head coach whose specialty is in training defensive secondary players. Signing the franchise tag should ensure that Branch will be present during hte most crucial of off season workouts, and will make it more likely that he has a big season in 2012.
While it is good to know that Branch has signed his franchise tag and will be ready to play in 2012, this story is far from over. Branch is a valuable piece for the Raiders who could be a starter for years to come. If the Raiders wish to continue building a player, holding on to guys like Branch will be a pivotal part of that process. If the Raiders want to upgrade their team next off season, a key part to that plan will be to ensure that players like Branch are signed long term so that Reggie McKenzie can focus on other positions.