The addition of WR Brandon Lloyd on a one-year deal is a low risk signing that, in all likelihood, will not have much of an impact on the San Francisco 49ers‘ 2014 season.
Lloyd is joining a roster that already has Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin penciled in as starters. Beyond that, Quinton Patton will be entering his second year and needs snaps and playing time to develop. It’s also a safe bet that the 49ers will invest a high draft pick in a wideout as well. With Crabtree and Boldin not guaranteed to return in 2015, San Francisco has to look to the future which would include Patton and a rookie (or two), not Lloyd.
The 49ers carried six receivers last season, so when you consider Crabtree, Boldin, Patton, a rookie and special teams ace Kassim Osgood are locks to make the roster, that leaves little room for Lloyd. Since Lloyd does not offer anything in the way of special teams, he would have to crack the top three or four on the depth chart and there is a small chance of that happening.
So why sign Lloyd?
I think the reason is twofold. First, he offers insurance in case an injury happens. Last year when Crabtree went down, the 49ers had trouble finding someone who was able to step in. Lloyd would provide some veteran insurance if something similar were to happen. The second could be the hope that the team will catch lightning in a bottle and Lloyd has some gas left in the tank. If that’s the case, he could always jump Patton or a rookie and become the third receiver.