Multiple winners in Deion Branch trade

The timing was finally right for the trade that sent Deion Branch from the Seattle Seahawks back to the New England Patriots for a fourth-round choice in the 2011 NFL draft.

Randy Moss' time in New England had run its course, so the Patriots needed a receiver. The Seahawks needed Branch during the offseason, but had improved enough at the position to make Branch expendable -- or closer to it, anyway. The Seahawks want to remain competitive while rebuilding and they've done a good job so far this season, but they are nonetheless rebuilding. Branch was a 31-year-old holdover from the previous regime, and one with a history of knee trouble.

The Patriots should feel good about adding a receiver they know well following Moss' departure. They owned two picks in each of the first four rounds of the 2011 draft, so parting with one of them wasn't a big deal.

The Seahawks should feel great getting a fourth-round choice in return for a player New England valued more than other team probably did (I did not think the Patriots would part with a fourth). Seattle was looking to recoup picks after sending its third-rounder to San Diego for Charlie Whitehurst and its fourth-rounder to Buffalo for Marshawn Lynch. Adding Lynch for Branch would qualify as an easy decision given Seattle's personnel situation.

Branch should feel ecstatic leaving a team with long-term quarterback question marks for one with old friend and future Hall of Famer Tom Brady signed for the long term. He's a better fit in New England, plain and simple. Branch also gets to leave a city where he would always symbolize a trade that never worked out as the Seahawks' previous leadership had intended.

This deal looks like a "win" for all involved.