Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

17 Oct 2011

Brandon Lloyd Dealt to Rams

The compensation is apparently a sixth-round pick that could become a fifth-rounder if Lloyd reaches a certain number of receptions. This move would seem to only make sense if the Rams got Brandon Lloyd to commit to a contract extension as part of the deal. Otherwise, there's no point in an 0-5 team trading for a No. 1 wide receiver. Lloyd's career also makes him a huge question mark overall. This is a guy who never had a positive DVOA rating until last year, and only has a catch rate above 50 percent in three seasons (2008, 2010, and this year). Last year Josh McDaniels' offense fed him the ball like crazy, but this year the new Denver offense hasn't used him anywhere near as much and once again he has average stats. Can he possibly return to last year's heights, or was that a massive fluke year? And what about his long-rumored difficult personality? Is Lloyd really the right guy to become the veteran mentor to a young receiving corps like the one in St. Louis?

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 17 Oct 2011

37 comments, Last at 19 Oct 2011, 1:27pm by The Hypno-Toad

Comments

1
by strannix (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 1:43pm

The Bears couldn't cough up a 5 for him?

13
by TomKelso :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 3:31pm

Lloyd's been in Chicago -- guess the Bears didn't like what they saw of him then.

16
by strannix (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 5:03pm

Wow, you're right - I wonder how I managed to completely forget about that. Complaint at least partially withdrawn.

2
by Anonymously (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 1:44pm

don't we come here so you can answer these questions for us? my brain hurts

3
by mental :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 1:48pm

For a 6th rounder, are these questions really important? And if they are, isn't the real question "Why not Randy Moss?"?

4
by andrew :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 1:56pm

Moss checks list of teams he'll play for:

Patriots.

Nope, not on the list.

12
by RickD :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 2:57pm

I don't know if the list is that short, but it's doubtful he'd return to play for the 0-6 Rams.

5
by Anon (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 2:06pm

It's a 6th round selection... isn't it worth it to give it a shot for a SIXTH round selection? Does anybody really think about their sixth-rounder as a potential starting player?

20
by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 7:03pm

Excellent point. Picks that high get traded around during the draft like they're essentially worthless...which is usually the case. Given a shot at a legitimate #1 receiver for a fifth round pick (which it will be if he catches 30 passes between now and the end of the season) is the kind of crazy-good deal GMs dream about.

I also don't believe concerns over his personality are justified at this point. He obviously wasn't overjoyed to get less chances this year in Denver, but that would only make him happier to be going somewhere else. And there's been no problems of note with him in Denver and McDaniels knows him.

6
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 2:08pm

Can we get similarity scores?

14
by Aaron Schatz :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 4:46pm

Trying to run multi-year similarities for Lloyd seems silly, since he went from 26 catches to eight catches to 77 catches. Hard to find much similar to that!

Based on his talent, what's been said about him, and how often he's changed teams, Brandon Lloyd is clearly a player where statistics do not tell the whole story. This is a guy where you better make sure the intangibles work.

By the way, the point below about the Rams getting a compensatory pick makes a lot of sense, unless perhaps there's something in the compensatory pick equation that docks Lloyd for his non-existent 2009 season.

7
by Omar Elitreby (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 2:17pm

This is actually highway robbery by STL if they DO NOT sign him to a contract. They'll likely get a 3rd or 4th round compensatory pick if they do not sign Lloyd. What is Denver thinking here????

8
by c0rrections (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 2:20pm

"Suck for Luck"

9
by Anonymous999 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 2:21pm

They don't need receivers anymore. They have Tim Tebow.

22
by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 7:08pm

They look to be creating a situation in which any QB would find it impossible to succeed...let alone somebody as green as Tebow. Lousy line, poor running game, and now no proven #1 receiver. Throw this move in with all the "unnamed Broncos sources" who were hammering Tebow earlier in the year and you start to get a picture of a team that seems to want him to fail.

Not a huge believer in Tebow, but I don't really see how writing off #1 picks that easily helps an organization rebuild.

27
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Tue, 10/18/2011 - 8:41am

I think about it this way. There are three scenarios to consider

1. Tebow is Messiah and impresses everyone Cam Newton style. The Broncos can now safely move into the future, set at QB. Let's say there's a 10 percent chance of this happening.
2. Tebow is horrible. There is no doubt that he'll never be anything other than a wildcat QB. The Broncos can now safely move on, draft a new QB (a good one since if Tebow sucks, that means a high draft-pick). However Tebow needs to suck badly enough to get the fans convinced as well, or else Fox will get cruxified for moving on. Let's say there's a 30% chance this happens.
3. Tebow is mediocre. Tebow fans are still convinced he can succeed and haters are still convinced he will fail. Fox and Elway cannot draft their own guy, since 70 percent of the fans still loves Tebow.

3 is the worst scenario for the franchise (and Fox and Elway). 1 is fantastic and 2 is OK as well. All Fox-Elway are doing by tanking the offense is moving a few percentage points from 1 to 2, and a lot of percentage points from 3 to 2. They are basically hedging their bets, and getting a little value (a 6th rounder) in the process.

11
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 2:56pm

Good point. Rams will probably get a supplemental pick as good as the one they traded if they let him leave in free agency. Basically, they're getting him for nothing but the cost of his salary, and they may even be moving UP in the draft.

Makes you wonder why they're weren't more/better offers out there. Perhaps this says a lot about what GMs around the league think of Lloyd.

17
by daz :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 5:21pm

That is assuming that Lloyd signs a big contract and that the Rams dont sign another FA that cancels out Lloyd signing elsewhere though

10
by some guy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 2:28pm

Lloyd's season last year, rationally, seems like a fluke. However, there has never been any question that the guy was amazingly talented after seeing catches like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=jmsCsdUL7I8#t=1... and it is saying something that the best quarterback he has ever played with is Kyle Orton.

Brandon Lloyd and Antonio Bryant should start a support group for former 49ers wide receivers. I imagine Micheal Crabtree will be joining them shortly and TO will probably at least make special appearances at their benefit events.

15
by Spielman :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 4:56pm

"Is Lloyd really the right guy to become the veteran mentor to a young receiving corps like the one in St. Louis?"

Quite possibly not. But it's also a disturbingly incompetent receiving corps, and a very low risk move that *might* provide Bradford with even a league average target seems like a no-brainer to me.

18
by NotAredskinFanButWow (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 5:27pm

Isn't there something to be said for the idea that Spagnuolo and whoever the STL GM is probably don't want another 1-15 season on their resumes?

31
by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2011 - 12:07pm

This.

People really overestimate the time horizons teams are operating under. Sure NE might be able to make every decision looking three years into the future, but most teams are looking 6 months in the future if that.

This move makes STL better and a 7-9 finish might mean an extra year of work for the staff, whereas a 1-15 might mean no. Not saying Loyd makes that difference, but too many sports fans seem to think the only two strategies available for a front office are chasing a Superbowl or chasing the number 1 pick. Neither of which is really a good idea.

Much better to aim to make the playoffs as many years as possible and just count on luck to get you the rest of the way.

19
by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 5:31pm

Lloyd now offff crap team but on new crap team. Bettrr sitiatoon for lloyd now though brcauase will get more balls thrown way. Was nlt going to happen like thar in Denvrr now with T. Yebow anointing of the sick tour starting sooon

21
by BroncosGuyAgain :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 7:07pm

Aaron's series of questions reminds me of the episode-ending teasers of "Soap".

I have never understood the NFL's supplemental pick system. A cursory look at past awards leads me to guess the Rams are unlikely to "win" with a better compensatory pick, although it will likely be a significant offset. More practically, Lloyd requested a trade, the Broncos gave him one, and they eliminated a headache from a seriously headache-prone team.

St. Louis fans, look at it this way: would you rather have Lloyd or Roy Williams? Now compare the compensation. Rest easy.

In all, this is mostly a non-event. St. Louis acquires a really, really talented receiver who will not be in the Hall of Fame nor materially impact a winless team. In return, the Rams give up almost nothing. What is the real point of this trade? Will any component actually demonstrate value? These questions, and more, will be answered on the next episode of . . .

23
by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 7:20pm

The part I don't really get is the Broncos thinking. "He's going to be a distraction/cancer in the locker room." I guess that must be it, but he seems to have been a pretty good guy during his time with the Broncos, including this year when he's been getting less work. And while his numbers are down, he's still got talent. He made that amazing catch for Tebow during their comeback against the Chargers. Having him around would certainly help the offense as they try to decide if Tebow can actually cut it in the NFL.

For Denver, I think the biggest fear would be NOT being able to make a real judgment on Tebow by the end of the year. And sticking him out there with no #1 wideout isn't going to help him. They're bound to lose lots of games and Tebow is bound to have so-so stats. How much of that will be his fault and how much will be the product of a lousy offense could be hard to figure.

It's starting to look like they have their answer regarding Tebow and want to make sure this "test" confirms what they've already decided.

28
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Tue, 10/18/2011 - 8:45am

Oh absoutely (see above). They are punting on Tebow - none of them ever wanted him. They are now making sure he fails so that they can move on without causing a riot (and getting a little value in the process).

34
by BroncosGuyAgain :: Tue, 10/18/2011 - 5:51pm

Let's keep our composure here. Pro scouts can tell the difference between a good throw and a receiver making a miraculous catch. (Cold stats, by the way, cannot)

The idea that the Broncos traded Lloyd to "set Tebow up to fail" is just silly. Tebow will succeed or fail on his own merits. Even if the Broncos have presupposed Tebow's inadequacy, they are highly incentivized to enhance, not diminish, his perceived trade value.

I suspect John Elway can tell the difference between a well-thrown and a poorly-thrown ball, even if DVOA cannot, independent of the intended receivers' ability. Those imagining a conspiracy to ensure Tebow's failure should concentrate on the JFK assassination or the moon landing.

35
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Tue, 10/18/2011 - 6:42pm

Honestly though - is it that farfetched? I mean wouldn't Fox be interested in entering the luck sweepstakes? He didn't draft Tebow,and he wants to draft a QB who can give him job-security.

Let me ireterate (sp?) this is not about finding out if Tebow is any good or not, this is about making it clear to the fans that he is not any good. This way Fox can move on without causing a riot in the streets of Denver.

36
by BroncosGuyAgain :: Tue, 10/18/2011 - 7:58pm

Yes, it is that far-fetched. The idea that front-office personnel are secretly conspiring to reduce the value of an owned asset is patently absurd.

The Lloyd trade is about salvage value, and nothing else. There is no satanic cabal trying to undermine Tim Tebow.

John Fox would like nothing more than Tim Tebow proving himself to be an actual NFL quarterback, because nothing would make John Fox's life easier. It won't happen, of course, but that does not change Fox's incentive.

Fox is not motivated at all by the rantings of half-wit fans. He really is giving Tebow an audition in an otherwise lost season. The Broncos organization prays Tebow succeeds. I pray the Broncos are able to draft Andrew Luck.

24
by Gaamoo (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2011 - 8:52pm

I think their goal is to increase the chance the Rams win at least one more game than the Broncos do.

25
by tunesmith :: Tue, 10/18/2011 - 1:53am

The real story is this. Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, and Eddie Royal are all coming back from injury. Tim Tebow is now the starter.

Lloyd has 11 games before he's a free agent. Denver has a new offensive strategy that attempts to balance run and pass (those that think Fox hates passing are silly), and Denver also has multiple good receivers. Denver also is moving away from a timing-based passing game towards one that stresses screens, possession receivers, and the occasional slow-developing deep ball.

Lloyd's game is timing and routes. He doesn't have good YAC, he doesn't block well, he's probably not comfortable being a possession receiver or improvising his routes.

Decker, Thomas, and Thomas are big, physical receivers. Decker and D.Thomas are the kind of deep threats that can out-physical a defense to the ball. J.Thomas can potentially be a good possession receiver in the middle of the field. Royal and Moreno are assets in the screen game and running in space.

Tebow's strengths are throwing the screen, stretching the field with his mobility, and throwing slow-developing deep balls. Timing, anticipation, and mid-range accuracy are his weaknesses. He needs big possession bodies to help him with the passing game. The one thing Lloyd gives him are where he throws up a quick prayer and hopes Lloyd's acrobatics save him. It's definitely a nice to have, but outside of that, Lloyd isn't a good fit at all for the offensive direction Denver appears to be going in. In the meantime, playing Lloyd means less playing time for D.Thomas and Decker.

So: Lloyd is in a contract year, isn't seeing as many looks, is in a system that doesn't fit his strengths (when it did last year), and wants to protect his leverage for next season. Denver gets a pick when they probably weren't going to get a compensatory pick for him anyway (since they would have likely signed more free agents than lost), and they get to play some receivers that they've been optimistic about anyway. They didn't *have* to trade him, but it shows respect to Lloyd and his wishes to protect his career, after he did a lot for Denver last season.

26
by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 10/18/2011 - 3:18am

"playing Lloyd means less playing time for D.Thomas"
I feel like D. Thomas probably has no one to blame for his overall lack of playing time than his own (seemingly) frail body. Granted, it's not his fault that Josh McDaniels traded up to inexplicably draft him while he was already injured, but he has sure spent a lot of his pro career in street clothes.
Basically, it looks like the Broncos are putting a lot of eggs in some very unreliable baskets, when it comes to being healthy enough to suit up on a week to week basis. Demaryius Thomas has played 10 games in a 21 game career, Julius Thomas has played 2 of 5. Decker has (apparently) played 19 of 21, but I sure don't remember him playing 14 games last season.
Not disagreeing with your point, I think the trade probably is in everyone's best interest to one degree or another. But it seems strange that a team which had to line up their current starting QB as a receiver just a few weeks ago because they simply ran out of warm bodies is all of a sudden secure enough at the position to get rid of their best receiver, lost season or no.

30
by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2011 - 11:18am

Great point. I'd already forgotten about them using Tebow as a 4th receiver. Now that he's the starter, I somehow doubt Orton will be able to fill in if they run short again!

32
by tunesmith :: Tue, 10/18/2011 - 12:59pm

It's because almost every receiver was injured a few weeks ago. J.Thomas sprained an ankle early in the game. Eddie Royal, groin. D.Thomas was still out. All three are back this week. And I think that was one the one game B.Llloyd missed, too.

37
by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 10/19/2011 - 1:27pm

Right, and as I was mentioning before, both of the Thomases have spent more time injured than on the field during their admittedly brief careers. Eddie Royal has been somewhere between unreliable and very bad since 2009. I just don't see this position as something that even resembles a settled group. Once again, I think the trade was the right move, but to pretend that Brandon Lloyd's trade was because the Broncos were in any way "set" at WR does not strike me as a particularly defensible position.

29
by SuperGrover :: Tue, 10/18/2011 - 10:30am

---> and Denver also has multiple good receivers.

They do? Really? Multiple good receivers?

33
by Parker (The First One) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2011 - 4:02pm

I think he meant 'double plus good receivers'.