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Brandon Lloyd to 49ers: Latest Contract Details, Analysis and Reaction

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Brandon Lloyd to 49ers: Latest Contract Details, Analysis and Reaction
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Updated from Tuesday, April 22

The 49ers' official Twitter feed provided some of Lloyd's thought on re-joining the squad:

Updates from Wednesday, April 16

NBC's Mike Florio reports potential details of Brandon Lloyd's contract with the 49ers:

It’s our understanding that the deal pays the one-year veteran minimum to Lloyd, possibly with some incentives.

Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area has more on Lloyd's deal:

Original Text

After not playing in the NFL at all last season, veteran wide receiver Brandon Lloyd is getting a chance to revive his career in 2014 with the San Francisco 49ers.   

The team's official Twitter account reported Tuesday that Lloyd had agreed to a one-year contract to return to San Francisco:

Lloyd spent his first three NFL seasons with the Niners after the organization drafted him in the fourth round of the 2003 draft. He had some success, but those were the days when the team was struggling through a bunch of losing seasons prior to the thriving era of current head coach Jim Harbaugh.

As much talent as Lloyd has flashed throughout his career and with some of the sensational catches he's made, he still only has one 1,000-yard season on his resume. That came in 2010 with the Denver Broncos—far and away his best campaign—in which Lloyd was an All-Pro in nabbing 77 receptions for 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns.

It was somewhat surprising that he didn't get a call to join a team in 2013, because Lloyd played rather well in his last NFL action with the New England Patriots. With Tom Brady as his quarterback, Lloyd had 74 catches for 911 yards and four touchdowns.

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Those aren't quite the type of explosive numbers Lloyd put up back in 2010, but he wasn't really asked to play that role in Foxboro. Less pressure and minimal expectations will be on him now in his reunion with the Niners.

San Francisco already has veterans Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree on the roster—two big, strong receivers on the outside. Both of them are experienced enough in the offense to line up in the slot if need be and make tough catches over the middle, though, freeing up Lloyd to move to the outside at times.

But the presence of Boldin and Crabtree already prompted this analysis from ESPN.com's Mike Sando, suggesting that this signing may not be all that significant in the grand scheme:

Lloyd has exceptional hands and should serve as a friendly target for quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who will need all the help he can get entering a contract year.

This is a smart offseason move by general manager Trent Baalke. Although Lloyd is a bit of a journeyman and can have fiery antics at times, it seems the Niners have the infrastructure in place to handle him.

There have been off-field issues this offseason in San Francisco, however, namely with star pass-rusher Aldon Smith, who was arrested Sunday. Rumors have also swirled about how well Baalke and Harbaugh coexist, but Harbaugh did his best to dismiss those concerns, per SI.com's Michael Rosenberg:

I see all these reports about how I want to be the highest-paid coach in football. They presume I covet some kind of extension. I have never said to anybody that I want to be the highest-paid coach in football. I have never said that to anybody -- my wife, my brother, my dad. I make plenty of money.

The other one is that I want more power. I have never said that, nor do I want any more power than I have. I coach the team. I've told my owner I don't want any more power. I want to coach the team. And I've never told anybody else otherwise.

Perhaps this is a chaotic situation, with the team facing pressure to return to the NFC title game for a fourth straight time.

But the mere one-year commitment to Lloyd gives the Niners flexibility to sever ties with him if it doesn't work out. Otherwise, he should serve as a decent third or fourth option while hopefully playing a mentor role to youngsters such as Quinton Patton and Jonathan Baldwin.

Even though he's been out of the league and is turning 33 in July, there is still value to be had from Lloyd thanks to his ability to pluck the ball and his undeniable talent. Perhaps with stars such as Boldin, Crabtree, Vernon Davis and San Francisco's strong running game providing help, Lloyd can get his career back on track after a year away from the gridiron.

 

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