Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd Aren’t Guaranteed For a Return in 2013

One and done with the Patriots? (US Presswire)

NEPD Staff Writer: Tony Santorsa

Very rarely do you see one of the NFL’s prolific passing attacks part ways with their top two receivers in one offseason—but the New England Patriots are a different breed of animal.

According to Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe, Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd don’t have a guaranteed roster spot in 2013.

If I’m the Patriots, I let Welker walk, I don’t pay Brandon Lloyd’s $3 million option (making him a free agent), and I use that money to find the best X receiver on the market to threaten defenses down the left sideline. Lloyd was close, but not quite the right guy. He could also come in the draft if the Patriots can identify, for the first time since Deion Branch and David Givens in 2002, a real talent.

I’m sure all of you are quite aware that Welker is set to hit the free agent market this season, after playing under the $9.5 million franchise tag this season, and that his return to the Patriots is certainly in limbo.

Late last week I pointed out that the Patriots could always tag Welker yet again, but this time the price would be substantially higher as the tag is set at $11.4 million. I also reported, via Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, that the two parties could settle for a two-year, $16 million deal—but that still doesn’t change the fact that Welker turns 32 in May.

As for Lloyd, he turns 32 in July and simply wasn’t what the Patriots were hoping for in 2012.

Granted, Lloyd recorded 74 receptions of 130 targets for 911 yards and four touchdowns while playing in all 16 games—but he was inconsistent, to say the least. There were stretches where Lloyd was almost invisible and it seemed like Tom Brady and Lloyd never really clicked.

Given the fact that Bill Belichick and the Patriots don’t like to pay aging veterans, the possibility of New England playing without their top two receivers in 2013 is certainly a possibility.

In a draft that does have some talent at the wide receiver position, with prospects like Keenan Allen, Robert WoodsTavon Austin, DeAndre Hopkins and Cordarrelle Patterson, the Patriots could very well look towards the draft for a possible replacement.

We haven’t seen a wide receiver acquired via the draft click with Brady in New England’s offense since Deion Branch—but you can make a debate for Julian Edelman, but I’m referring to an X-receiver rather than a Z.

The possible reformation of New England’s receiving corps doesn’t have to take place in the draft, as players such as Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe, Greg Jennings and Danny Amendola are all slotted in to be free agents.

Following the report posted by Bedard, ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss also indicated that Welker and Lloyd might not be Patriots next season and described it as that they’re not “locks” for 2013:

I think we’ll see Edelman back, but Lloyd and Welker aren’t locks in my view. A lot will depend on the market/economics. I’m interested to see how they approach it.

Along with Welker hitting the open market, key players such as cornerback Aqib Talib, offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer and wide receiver Julian Edelman will all be free agents this offseason too.

By looking at New England’s situation with finical issues as the priority, passing on Welker and Lloyd’s $3 million option might be the better decision as it opens up possibilities of tagging Talib, signing both Vollmer and Edelman, and then possibly targeting a wide receiver via the draft or free agency.

I like to look at this situation much like Reiss, both Welker and Lloyd aren’t “locks” to return to New England this upcoming season. We may see a very different looking offense in 2013.

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6 Responses to “Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd Aren’t Guaranteed For a Return in 2013”

  1. cc says:

    You give guys like Taylor Price and Brandon Merriweather, oCHOchockonit and other’s HOW LONG?
    But not Lloyd a simple 2nd chance?

    Tag Percey Harvin with the suggested 3rd rounder & IMO keep B Loyd.
    Welker takes a home town discount….then keep him. If there’s no way to lower his scale? Then let em walk for the future cash/defense the team will need.
    I agree, Brady is 2 comfortable and needs to distribute all around again.

    Harvin and the best OT there is.

  2. Jeff M says:

    The reality is that as good as Welker has been, since he got here Brady looks for him far too often instead of trying to get his other WRs involved. Remember the days when Brady’s leading receiver was Reche Caldwell? Brady is too comfortable with the offensive personnel and will not deviate to different targets until Welker is gone.

    Pats could easily keep Lloyd, sign Edelman, Vollmer, Talib cut Fells (since Hooman played better anyways and Ballard is coming back) and pull a trade for Harvin (2nd rounder and extend him with the money Welker would’ve gotten that he turned down.)

    Johnny Knox just was released today too…no issue taking a flyer on him either since he can return punts too and has great hands.

    There are options in the draft also so the key is Welker needs to go for money purposes AND to force Brady out of this rut he’s in with homing in on one guy who can’t catch come playoff time.

    • JH TARBORO says:

      Jeff M. I agree !!! We still have our core members,as a fan its a tough topic,because we love our team and Welker,but also as a fan we can’t play FANBALL,meaning we have to look at the bigger picture,not just what we see on the surface. We just assume that its the money but its more to this story! Question: Why are we blowing up our receiving corp? Answer: personally go back to AFC Championship.I never seen Bill Belichick that mad after a game,this team was better than last years’ team and this team didn’t go to a Superbowl,and could have. I think that game was a defining moment in to the decision making for 2013 . We need a change.

  3. J.H TARBORO says:

    I guess the handwriting is on the wall for both recievers. The Patriots signed James Devlin FB 6’3″ 250. Could our offense change this preseason? 9 players were signed postseason:2 DTs, 2 DEs, 2 WRs, 2 LBs 1 FB.

  4. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    HMMM we have a great QB, yet we are thinking of dropping two guy’s ; thats 171+ receptions? A draft pick will do well to sag 50 passes, and Edelman could get 50 passes, that still leaves 70+ passes going to ??
    You can’t get a free agent, for the money your saving, because you need it to sign, your free agents, and rookies.
    I think Lloyd stays, Edelman/ Hernadez/ Demps play the slot, and we draft WR Patton, Wheaton, or Hopkins. We could grap another TE like Mychal Rivera in the 7th round.

    • acm says:

      you spread those over several players not just one or two – if both Lloyd and Wes leave, Patton and say Amendola would be direct replacements but they don’t have to bring you the same productivity as the Lloyd+Welker duo. The rest could be picked up Edelman, Woody(likely back with the Pats), Vereen, Demps and more importantly (as we discussed earlier) a new WR-type TE as an alternative to AH from free agency (maybe D.Keller) or a late draft pick (Rivera can really catch and run with it).

      This being said, I can see a possible release of Lloyd as a way to find more cap space to sign Welker without hurting the team’s other needs as much. lloyd’s productivity can be picked up by a good rookie Wr like Patton. Or maybe someone like J. Simpson in free agency maybe?

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