2012 NFL Free Agents: 10 Reasons the Broncos Must Bring Back Brandon Lloyd

Nick HouserCorrespondent IIMarch 14, 2012

2012 NFL Free Agents: 10 Reasons the Broncos Must Bring Back Brandon Lloyd

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    The Denver Broncos need a receiver.

    But not just any receiver; they need to bring in Brandon Lloyd for another stint.

    He's not an overwhelming addition. He won't make headlines like any other free agent. Though for this team, Lloyd will bring more to the table than just a good set of hands.

    Coming off two remarkable seasons, Lloyd is an ideal match for the Broncos. Still, there are even more reasons to grab Lloyd.

    In fact, there are 10 of them.

He's Been Reborn

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    In his first seven seasons in the NFL, Brandon Lloyd had 2,370 receiving yards.

    Since 2010, he's caught 140 passes for 2,414 yards.

    Call it a comeback, a revival, a second wind or call him the "Benjamin Button of the NFL" if you'd like.

    Whatever it is, it appears the 32-year-old receiver has finally figured it out.

    Assuming the last two years weren't a fluke, Lloyd is a reliable receiver with great hands and the speed to do a lot of damage.

Familiarity

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    As a San Francisco 49er, Brandon Lloyd grew better as each season passed. Then, the team gave up on him and moved on.

    He spent two forgettable years in Washington and one with the Chicago Bears, accumulating just over 700 yards and two touchdowns.

    Then, Lloyd signed with the Denver Broncos. In his first year he contributed next to nothing.

    In his second, he went off. Nearly 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns later, Lloyd became a star in Denver.

    Unfortunately after the Broncos struggled in 2011, Lloyd was traded to the St. Louis Rams. He still put together decent numbers: 966 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games.

    It seems Lloyd, like most, benefits from time to become familiar with schemes.

    Denver should bring him back and hope he can duplicate stats similar to 2010. He already knows the playbook, the team, the quarterback and the surroundings.

He's Better Than Denver's Current Options

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    Brandon Lloyd is an obvious upgrade over who the Denver Broncos have now.

    The same year Lloyd netted 1,448 yards, Eric Decker, Eddie Royal and Demaryius Thomas combined for 1,016 yards.

    Last season, Lloyd gained 350 more yards than Decker, the next closest of the bunch. He also maintained an average of 15 more yards per game than Thomas, the second best in that category.

    Let's assume Thomas' stats increase as he becomes a standout, while Decker and Lloyd's efforts remain around the same. The Broncos would have two receiving threats with potential to go over 1,000 yards and an above average third option.

    The combination of Thomas, Lloyd and Decker are superior to Thomas, Decker and Royal.

    There are rumors Royal may be joining the Washington Redskins in the next few days anyway, so the Broncos will need a replacement.

He's Relatively Cheap

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    Last season, Brandon Lloyd made $1.4 million as part of the two-year, $2.05 million deal he signed before the 2010 season.

    With the stats he produced in those two seasons, Lloyd will garner more money—he deserves it.

    But with his age and sudden onset of talent this deep into his career, questions over his consistency will hinder his next contract.

    Let's say Lloyd is worth a similar contract to what Josh Morgan reportedly signed with the Washington Redskins according to ProFootballTalk.com.

    With $38 million in cap space, the Denver Broncos should find $5-7 million affordable, especially for talent like Lloyd.

Lloyd Is a Deep Threat

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    Brandon Lloyd could be the deep threat the Denver Broncos covet.

    Utilizing Demaryius Thomas' build and Lloyd's speed down the sideline opens up the run game and the middle of the field for a slot receiver such as Eric Decker.

    Denver would have a talented combination of speed and size from the receiving core.

Veteran Leadership

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    Tim Tebow, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker will each turn 25 in 2012. The offensive line has an average of two years experience in the NFL.

    Outside of Willis McGahee, the Denver Broncos lack veteran leadership on offense.

    Lloyd is the perfect fit.

    He's a veteran in the NFL and he's had success in Denver. The wide receiving core and quarterback need mentoring more than any other position.

    Lloyd would directly work with both.

Trade Bait... Again

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    Let's say the signing doesn't work out. Lloyd's skills are diminishing after all or the entire offense remains lackluster.

    In 2011, the Denver Broncos received a sixth-round pick that turned into a fifth-rounder.

    The worst that could happen is the Broncos once again ship Lloyd to the highest bidder, one likely to send another fifth or sixth round pick in return. 

The Move Allows for Focus Elsewhere

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    Wide receiver is a position the Denver Broncos need to upgrade, no doubt about it, and are likely to look to the 2012 draft for help.

    Signing Brandon Lloyd would allow the Broncos to spend their draft picks on other necessities.

    There is much debate among fans over what the Broncos major needs are.

    Regardless of what position they think is the most important, there are many areas of concern.

    The addition of Lloyd frees Denver up to look at cornerbacks and defensive tackles early and running backs, tight ends and maybe even quarterbacks in the middle rounds.

To Stick It to the Patriots

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    It's unlikely NFL franchises are petty enough to make moves to spite each other.

    But in this case, it'd be an intriguing move.

    Brandon Lloyd is interested in becoming a member of the New England Patriots. Now it's a matter of if the Patriots have reciprocal interest.

    The move makes sense.

    New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was Lloyd's head coach in Denver and offensive coordinator in St. Louis.

    McDaniels' stint in Denver was a contentious one.

    The former head coach's style clashed with former quarterback Jay Cutler and wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

    Both were traded.

    McDaniels also traded promising tight end Tony Scheffler to the Detroit Lions and running back Peyton Hillis to the Cleveland Browns.

    In the 2010 draft, he traded the Broncos' second, third and fourth round picks to move up for controversial quarterback Tim Tebow. The move was met with a mix of cheers and scoffs.

    That same year, McDaniels was accused of taping a San Francisco 49ers walkthrough. The scandal may have ultimately led to his dismissal one week later.

    In all likelihood it wouldn't hurt McDaniels' feelings one bit, but "stealing" Lloyd away from the guy who traded much of Denver's future away for nothing is a start.

    It'd be nice to stall the team that walloped Denver in the playoffs last season from getting better too, no matter who is on their coaching staff.

There's Not Many Better Options Left for Either Side

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    If the Broncos were seriously considering the top wide receivers in the game, they're nearly out of luck already.

    Dwayne Bowe and Wes Welker were franchise tagged by their respective teams.

    In the first day of free agency, Marques Colston re-signed with the New Orleans Saints and ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted Vincent Jackson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    The Washington Redskins and Jacksonville Jaguars are in desperate need of a wide receiver, too.

    Unfortunately for Brandon Lloyd, the Redskins have signed receivers Josh Morgan and Pierre Garcon. The Jaguars are accepting a visit from free agent Laurent Robinson.

    Even the San Francisco 49ers took care of their need by bringing in Randy Moss.

    As free agency proceeds and spots are filled, the pairing of Lloyd with the Broncos comes closer to fruition.

    The move makes sense for both sides. 

    But do either party want a do over?