The St. Louis Rams may have a new coaching staff and general manager, but one thing that has not changed is their annual offseason hunt for a wide receiver. One possible, partial answer is to re-sign free agent Brandon Lloyd. That possibility remains.
"We had initial discussions in Indianapolis," Rams COO Kevin Demoff told TST. "We plan to continue talking."
Acquired last October at the NFL trade deadline, Lloyd finally gave the Rams a receiver capable of stretching the field. In 11 games with the Rams, and three different quarterbacks, Lloyd caught 51 passes for 683 yards and five touchdowns. Those numbers far outpaced the other receivers on the team.
Lloyd's fate may hinge on what the Patriots think about him. As recently as December 2011, Lloyd has said that his preference would be to continue playing for Josh McDaniels. He left open the possibility of playing in St. Louis after the Rams hired Jeff Fisher in January. Getting a deal done with the Patriots, McDaniels' new team, may be tough given the bad blood between their front office and super agent Tom Condon.
The Rams could use the franchise tag to keep Lloyd, but that would cost the team $9.4 million, a hefty cap hit. An earlier report from Jason LaCanfora, citing a team source, said that the Rams would not use the tag to keep Lloyd. The Rams have never publicly ruled out that option. The deadline for using the tag is Monday, March 5.
A more realistic price for Lloyd would be something in the $6-7 million per year range. The cost of free agent receivers could be inflated given the big names available, including Vincent Jackson.
If the Rams can bring back Lloyd, they would be less dependent on finding receiver help with a first-round draft pick or an even more expensive free agent.