To say the New England Patriots are thin at the wide receiver position may be an understatement.
Free agent signee Danny Amendola is the only wideout that brings intrigue to the offense, mainly because of his niftiness, his good hands and the fact that he could replicate the success of Wes Welker as a slot receiver. Alas, injuries have plagued Amendola’s short NFL career and if he cannot stay healthy, the Patriots passing game will suffer immensely.
Julian Edelman is the only lone returning wide receiver from last year’s roster, but his injury concerns make him a less attractive asset on the offensive unit.
With a lack of continuity and familiar faces in the offense, the Patriots may benefit from re-signing Brandon Lloyd. The 31-year-old wide receiver was cut at the start of this offseason because the Patriots did not want to pay his $3 million option bonus. Releasing Lloyd saved the Patriots $4.9 million in salary cap space.
Lloyd can now be re-signed at a much cheaper price, if the Patriots do elect to bring him back. Lloyd has spent four seasons under offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (Denver Broncos in 2009-2010, St. Louis Rams in 2011, and with the Patriots in 2012), making him well adjusted to the current playbook. Lloyd would provide some familiarity for quarterback Tom Brady, something the future Hall of Fame quarterback has little of with a new bunch of receivers.
The negatives may outweigh the positives in the case of bringing back Lloyd. Despite having a productive season last year, hauling in 74 receptions for 911 yards and four touchdowns, he had erratic behavioral issues in the locker room and was also an irritation on the practice field. Not to mention, the Patriots need a wideout that has size and speed to play on the outside. At 6-foot-11, Lloyd does not provide the needed length and he also has never been described as a fast player.
Still, the Patriots may end up bringing back Lloyd in the hopes that he can surpass his numbers from last year under a second year of direction from Brady.