The restructuring reduces Branch's 2011 base salary from $5.95 million and puts it closer in line with Wes Welker's base salary of $2.15 million in 2011, a source told ESPNBoston.com. Branch has a chance to earn an additional $2 million in the form of incentives.
Branch said Thursday his contract had been restructured but did not give details.
"Both parties agreed on something and we worked it out," Branch said. "But it's always good just to be back in here. You gotta know what you're doing it for, and I know the purpose and why I did it."
Branch has two years left on a six-year, $39 million contract he signed with Seattle after being traded in 2006 by New England, where he spent four seasons. Branch's $5.47 million salary this season was not reduced.
The restructuring makes more money available for the Patriots to pursue a contract extension for Welker.
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.