This time, a Branch-for-Salas swap

September, 18, 2012
9/18/12
9:25
PM ET
Deion Branch is coming back to the Patriots, and Greg Salas is out.

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Seems like yesterday we were writing the reverse. Actually, it was 18 days ago (link here).

The Patriots traded a late-round 2015 draft choice for an 18-day trial with Salas, and now they've decided to go back to the known commodity over intriguing potential. We'll now wait to see if Salas clears waivers and possibly returns to the practice squad, as he has eligibility. In that scenario, the Patriots would have the best of both worlds -- an experienced target on the 53-man roster to help ease the loss of tight end Aaron Hernandez (right ankle), as well as a player on the practice squad to groom for the future.

Otherwise, the acquisition of Salas can be filed in the personnel misfire category for the Patriots, and there have been a few of those this offseason. Free-agent signing Jonathan Fanene tops the list.

Speaking of misfires, who was it that predicted a 61-catch season for Salas (link here)?

The receiver depth chart now has Brandon Lloyd (139 of 149 snaps), Wes Welker (106 of 149 snaps), Julian Edelman (98 of 149 snaps) and Branch, with Edelman's emergence the big surprise.

This sets the Patriots up with more experienced depth if they are forced to rely more on three-receiver sets in Hernandez's absence.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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