This past Thursday it was reported by Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area that the San Francisco 49ers were in talks with wide receiver Brandon Lloyd about coming back to the NFL. Lloyd, who took off from football last season to pursue his acting career, would be a veteran presence on the team, but the 49ers can’t be serious, can they?
First, let’s look at who the 49ers already have at wide receiver. Their two unquestionable starters are Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree. After that you would expect that Quinton Patton will be competing for the third wide receiver position and then Kassim Osgood as their last guy. Osgood doesn’t offer anything to their offense but he is a special teams ace, something this team puts a great deal of value in. That’s four wide receivers already under contract on a team that never carries more than five wide receivers. Don’t forget they also have six draft picks in the top 100 and will most certainly use one of those picks on a wide receiver.
Now let’s work under the assumption that they would sign Lloyd as competition in training camp for that fifth wide receiver roster spot. Who would that bump? Lloyd doesn’t play special teams, so he wouldn’t be replacing an ace like Osgood. Boldin and Crabtree are locks to make the roster. Patton has a great relationship with Colin Kaepernick and showed some great ability when healthy last season, so I can’t imagine them giving Lloyd a spot rather than giving Patton needed experience. That leaves the rookie that will most likely be the fifth spot. In this draft, the wide-receiver position is incredibly deep and there is a ton of talent that will be in the top three rounds. Lloyd, after being away from the game for a year and being an older player as it is, won’t be bumping a talented rookie down to the practice squad.
Lloyd has been a bit of a journeyman in his career, which coincidentally started in San Francisco, with varying degrees of success. While the 49ers are in need of some explosion at the wide receiver position, I just can’t imagine that a 33-year-old, past-his-prime player who is coming back from a year off is the right move to make. Although the team has discussed it with Lloyd, don’t look for a signing to actually take place anytime soon.