News came out today that Tyvon Branch would be signing his franchise tender which would keep him a Raider this season and several of his teammates have confirmed this. While this may seem to relieve some stress as to whether Branch would be a Raider this season, it is not really what either team or player wanted.
Branch returning to the Raiders this season was never in doubt. The team wanted to keep him enough to put the franchise tag on him. He wanted to stay as well. And while a hefty $6.2 million for this season is nice for Branch, a long term deal would be nicer.
Both the Raiders and Branch were holding off on signing the franchise tender in the hopes a long term deal could be reached. The hope being that he signs a long term deal which relieves the team of some 2012 cap burden as well as keeps the talented safety locked up in Oakland for a few more years.
The Raiders are currently right up against the cap and hope to sign more free agents to bolster several units that are lacking depth and role players.
On the plus side, Branch will be able to report to mandatory minicamps on time. But again, that wasn't really in doubt. The timing of his signing the tender is not coincidental. It was the deadline for him to either sign a new deal or sign the franchise tender so as not to miss practice time.
The team has also been trying to sign fullback Marcel Reece long term and if that deal is not in the works, he should be signing his restricted free agent tender in the coming days as well.
Rookie mini camps start this week with the first OTA's begin next week.