Tyvon Branch is one of the longest-tenured players on a largely revamped roster. Only kicker Sebastian Janikowski and long snapper Jon Condo have been Raiders longer, and Branch came in with fullback Marcel Reece and running back Darren McFadden.
The old guard, will shrink by at least one this offseason. Branch has been informed that his Raiders tenure has come to an end. He’s expected to be released in the near future.
The veteran strong safety acknowledged that fact in a pair of tweets thanking the organization and its fans for their support.
It was a blessing to play for the raiders wearing that shield was special to me... Thanks to the Davis family for giving me a chance!— Tyvon Branch (@tyvonbranch) February 27, 2015
Much love #RaiderNation ✊— Tyvon Branch (@tyvonbranch) February 27, 2015
Branch’s release, which has not been made official, is not a surprise. General manager Reggie McKenzie said last week that he planned to meet with Branch’s agent at the NFL Scouting Combine to discuss the veteran’s future.
The Raiders have decided to part with a player taken in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. The team rewarded quality play with a franchise tag and long-term contract in 2012 by McKenzie, one that gave him a team-high $9.67 million salary cap number in 2015. That total, combined with consecutive seasons marred by injury, ultimately led to the team’s decision to part ways.
ESPN’s Adam Caplan reports that the release will take place on Monday. The Raiders save $2.986 million with the release, per overthecap.com. The transaction will saddle the Raiders with $6.67 million in dead money. Branch’s contract lasted through 2017, with increased base salaries set to kick in for the 2015 season, when he was scheduled to make $5.5 million.
Branch was also due a $1 million roster bonus on March 12, which prompted the Raiders to make a move before that came due.
High hopes for Branch were dashed by a fractured fibula in Week 2 of the 2013 season and again by a fractured foot in Week 3 of the 2014 campaign.
Branch is healthy again, but it’s uncertain how he will respond following major surgeries in consecutive seasons.
Brandian Ross played well in Branch’s stead last season, showing great improvement over the year before. So did Larry Asante, when Ross was needed at slot cornerback. Both players are set to be restricted free agents.
The Raiders have Jonathan Dowling on the roster, but will likely add depth at the safety position.