New England Patriots: Could Brandon Lloyd Be A Cap Problem?


New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd might also be in the mix when cap salary, free agency, and franchise tag negotiations are to taken into consideration.

Lloyd was signed by the New England Patriots as an unrestricted free agent from St. Louis on March 20, 2012. Although Lloyd and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had worked together while McDaniels was the head coach for the Denver Broncos, the reasoning to bring in Lloyd to Foxboro was mainly based on the Patriots necessity of an outside receiver.

Jan 13, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots receiver Brandon Lloyd (85) reacts after a first down in the fourth quarter during the AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Texans 41-28. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Mike Reiss with the considers the following:

“Here are the key facts with Lloyd: He is due a $3 million bonus at some point in 2013, and has a base salary of $1.9 million. His salary cap charge is scheduled to be $4.5 million. Do the Patriots view Lloyd, his past production, and his future projection to be worth it? I’m interested to find out the answer, which might not come until after June 1, because I’m not sure it’s a slam dunk.”

Wes Welker tag price is approximate $11.4 million. The Patriots salary cap is in between $13-16 million dollars after taken into consideration a roughly $3.5 million in cap charges. Whatever the leftover is, they will have to work to re-sign, tender current players or target other team’s free agents. Consideration will also weigh in during negotiations with soon-to-be free agents, Sebastian Vollmer, Aqib Talib, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and Kyle Arrington (although Arrington  more likely will not be re-signed).

After the Patriots figure out the destiny of the above-mentioned free agents, then they will have to take a good look, and perhaps, analyzing and restructuring Logan Mankins, Vince Wilfork, and again, Tom Brady’s contract as the NFL salary documents has disclosed that these three players will consumer nearly 35% of the Patriots accessible cap room in 2013.

Having that in mind, we know that Coach Bill Belichick is very frugal when dealing with the Patriots budget. Even more so, when the investment does not really gives the return he expects.

The trick part is that during the season, we heard Tom Brady mentioning that he should pass the ball more often to Lloyd. At the same time, there were plays that the ball was directed to Lloyd and no play occurred. Lloyd finished the season with 74 receptions for 911 yards and 4 touchdowns. It occurs like the 31-year-old wide out, 6’0, 200- pounder could have better stats than what’s on the stat sheet.

But is it because he was not target as much or because when he was target he didn’t make the catch?

Given what I’ve seen last season, Lloyd is not really the number one receiver that Brady can count on, mainly if Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski stay healthy throughout the season.

As Bill Belichick evaluates based on ROI and what a player can do for the team in the future instead of past production, it’s very possible that they will try to use this money on someone else.

Follow Celia Westbrook on Twitter @celiawestbrook