When the New England Patriots signed wide receiver Brandon Lloyd last May, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the team.


Brandon Lloyd’s first year with the Patriots was surprisingly underwhelming. (FILE:USPresswire)

For starters, many expected Lloyd to join the team, given his close relationship to Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Above and beyond McDaniels and Lloyd’s relationship, however, the Pats were in need of an outside receiver to stretch the field.

The 31-year-old wide out had a solid season with New England, finishing with 74 receptions for 911 yards and four touchdowns. Despite his statistics, his production on the Patriots high-octane offense was surprisingly very mediocre.

Throughout the season the Pats seemed to force the ball to Lloyd, even when the results were negative. In many games the targets were nearly double his reception total. While he made the most difficult acrobatic catches look so easy, he also made the more simple catches look tough. His inconsistent hands, dropped balls and average production has his career with the Patriots put into question. Now, the question remains: Could Brandon Lloyd be a cap casualty?

ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss weighs in:

“Here are the key facts with Lloyd: He is due a $3 million bonus at some point in 2013, and has a base salary of $1.9 million. His salary cap charge is scheduled to be $4.5 million. Do the Patriots view Lloyd, his past production, and his future projection to be worth it? I’m interested to find out the answer, which might not come until after June 1, because I’m not sure it’s a slam dunk.”

My Take:

Lloyd’s situation is even more complicated with the unresolved contract negotiations around Wes Welker. Not to mention the Patriots have almost no long-term developmental options on the roster and are lacking a playmaking receiver who can play outside the numbers.

Lloyd is a fine fourth or fifth option, including Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, but I don’t believe he can be the number one receiver. New England needs to bring in some young talent and have to make upgrades in several spots on the roster. If keeping Lloyd around prohibits them for doing either one of those, I believe he should be let go.

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