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Raiders S Tyvon Branch signs franchise tender

Associated Press Modified: May 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm •  Published: May 7, 2012

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Oakland Raiders safety Tyvon Branch signed his $6.2 million franchise tag tender on Monday and reported to offseason workouts with the team.

The Raiders placed the tag on Branch on March 1 and he was unable to join the team until signing the tender or reaching a long-term contract.

The two sides are still hoping to reach a long-term deal before a July 15 deadline to give the Raiders more salary cap room and Branch more stability.

Getting Branch signed and with the team was important for the Raiders, who are counting on him to be one of the defensive leaders under a new defense run by head coach Dennis Allen and coordinator Jason Tarver.

Branch, a fourth-round pick in 2008, has started every game the past three seasons and led the Raiders in tackles the past two years. He had 78 solo tackles, one sack, one interception, four passes defensed and one fumble recovery last season.

Branch's 327 total tackles over the past three seasons are the second most of any NFL defensive back, trailing only Indianapolis' Antoine Bethea, who has 340.

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