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Free Agent Snapshot: Brandon Lloyd

02.16.12 at 10:03 pm ET
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We continue our look at 15 possible fits for the Patriots in free agency this offseason with a breakdown of wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. With the understanding that the NFL’€™s franchise tag window is from February 20 to March 5 (which means some of these players we list could ultimately be retained by their team) here are some players worth keeping an eye on that might be a fit in New England when free agency begins March 13:

Brandon Lloyd
Position: Wide receiver
Age: 30
Height: 6-foot
Weight: 188 pounds

On the surface, this seems to be the best free-agent fit of the offseason for New England. Even if the Patriots do manage to retain veterans Wes Welker and Deion Branch in free agency, Lloyd would be that long-elusive offensive option New England has been missing since Jabar Gaffney left following the 2008 season — another pass catcher who is not a tight end who can get you 50 or so receptions a season.

The Patriots need to build some depth at the position, they have had trouble developing young receivers, and Lloyd is on record as saying he’€™d be willing to follow Josh McDaniels to the ends of the earth. McDaniels helped turned Lloyd from a JAG who never topped 30 receptions over the first seven seasons of his career into a stud who has averaged 74 catches a game the last two years. In all, with McDaniels as the St. Louis offensive coordinator, Lloyd had 51 catches for 683 yards and five touchdowns last year in 11 games with the Rams. That’€™s on the heels of 77 catches for 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2010 with Denver … a portion of which happened in McDaniels’€™ final season as head coach of the Broncos. (McDaniels coached 12 games that year in Denver.)

‘€œI can’€™t even lie about that,’€ Lloyd told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in late December when he was asked about McDaniels. ‘€œI’€™m tied to McDaniels. He uses me differently than other offensive coordinators used me in my entire career. He uses me as an every-play receiver. The short game, mid-range game, gimmick passes, deep balls.

‘€œI do everything in this offense as opposed to other coordinators who would just run me off as the deep guy; run me off into double coverage and then say I’€™m not open. So I really like how Josh uses me within the offense. ‘€¦ I want to be used in ways where I feel comfortable and I can be successful and Josh knows how to do that.’€

Why it might not work: Historically, Lloyd’€™s agent Tom Condon doesn’€™t have the best working relationship with the Patriots, having initially drawn their ire when it came to the Ben Watson negotiations. And as was the case with Reggie Wayne, the market for receivers this offseason is a fluid one, with Wayne, Vincent Jackson, DeSean Jackson, Marques Colston, Stevie Johnson, Dwayne Bowe and Welker all on the market. Depending on how the market trends, this could be a good thing or bad thing for the Patriots. The Patriots could also choose to try and find a young receiver in the draft, as this year’€™s crop is considered to be better than average.

Read More: Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch, DeSean Jackson, Dwayne Bowe
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