The New England Patriots are one of the busiest teams in the early hours of free agency. In addition to other moves, they brought back defensive tackle Alan Branch on a two-year deal worth $12 million.

Branch has spent the last three seasons in Foxboro with good results. A strong run defender, Branch helped anchor a defensive line that ranked 11th in adjusted line yards last season. He also had an 83.0 run defense grade and 80.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

With Branch and Malcom Brown back on the interior, the Patriots can rest easy when it comes to their run defense. Now, all that’s left is to wait for resolutions to a potential Malcolm Butler trade and Dont’a Hightower’s free agency tour. Then, we’ll have a good idea of what this defense will look like in 2017.

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Ethan Sears
Ethan Sears is the publisher of sports web site and will graduate in 2017 from Rye High School in Westchester County, New York. He has loved sports from an early age and intends to have a long career in journalism. Ethan interned at the New York Post in the summers of 2015 and 2016. He also writes for Giants Wire, USA Today's New York Giants blog. In addition to writing and editing his own website, Ethan is the sports editor for his school paper, Garnet and Black. You can follow him on Twitter @ethan_sears.