2012 NFL Free Agents: Brandon Lloyd And The Rams

For the most part, the St. Louis Rams roster has few pressing issues beyond finding some talent. The list of free agents due to walk away from the Rams this spring is somewhat less exciting than the CVC's proposal for upgrades to the Dome. The biggest name on the list for the Rams is wide receiver Brandon Lloyd.

Acquired at the trade deadline for a measly fifth-round pick, Lloyd's positive impact with the Rams mostly went unnoticed because of quarterback injuries and an otherwise stagnant offense.

Lloyd publicly expressed a preference for continuing to play for Josh McDaniels in 2012. He later expressed an openness to stay in St. Louis after the team hired Jeff Fisher as its head coach.

The situation in New England makes it difficult to imagine the Rams having any chance of keeping Lloyd. Wide receiver Deion Branch is going to be a free agent this season. He recently said that he would like to retire as a member of the Patriots. He turns 33 in July. Lloyd is two years younger and a significant upgrade over Branch.

The Patriots have to re-sign or use the tag to keep Wes Welker. They have other needs to address as well, but they do have the cap space to give them some flexibility. Lloyd could be an easy target for the Patriots in the offseason.

Teams must use the franchise tag by Feb. 20, if they're going to use it. That isn't really an option for the Rams and Lloyd. The franchise tag will pay receivers roughly $9.5 million. The Rams, right now, have about $10 million in cap space. That's likely to change, but they'll still be fairly limited. Besides, for that kind of money, they might be better served to look at potential free agents like Vincent Jackson or Dwayne Bowe.

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