Branch, 34, hasn't played a snap all season, but worked out for the Colts last month. His most recent NFL catch came with the Patriots in last year's AFC title game loss to the Baltimore Ravens. After New England drafted Branch in 2002, he signed a lucrative free-agent deal with the Seahawks before Seattle traded him back to the Patriots midway through the 2010 campaign.
In theory, it's a cunning move prior to facing Bill Belichick and friends, but we don't expect Branch to see much action. He's a depth addition behind the ascendant T.Y. Hilton and a pair of developing young wideouts in Da'Rick Rogers and Griff Whalen.
The Colts also have LaVon Brazill on the roster, but coach Chuck Pagano said Monday that he wanted to "add some legs" at the position with Darrius Heyward-Bey expected to be out a week or so due to a hamstring injury.
Pagano on Branch: He's a smart guy, been in some different systems. Think it'll be an easy transition.â Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNFL) January 6, 2014
The team also elevated receiver Josh Lenz to the active roster from the practice squad, released defensive tackle Christian Tupou and placed defensive end Fili Moala and cornerback Greg Toler on injured reserve. Toler's groin injury played a role in the corner being fried by Chiefs wideout Donnie Avery in Indy's wild-card win over Kansas City.