In order for a trade to take place in the NFL or any professional sports, there must be two organizations that are willing to give and take or import and export talent, draft picks or even coaches. This is done to help in the building of the roster and championship foundation.
In this case, one side of the coin is a Rams Head and the other a Broncos Tail. With the trade from the Broncos to the Rams, at this point anyway, the Rams have won in Monday’s roster move of wide receiver Brandon Lloyd for a 2012 conditional sixth-round pick and possibly a fifth depending on overall production.
On the other side of the coin are the Broncos. They have a plan, but it’s just hard figuring what their plan really is. They have been working to trade Kyle Orton since the 2011 Combine, and now they have traded their Pro Bowl receiver in Lloyd for a sixth-round pick. Denver receiver Eddie Royal’s name is also mentioned.
When Lloyd was asked about his soon to be new team, he commented to NFL Network, “To be able to go into a leadership role in St. Louis, a more pronounced leadership role — and to be needed and viewed as an important piece to the puzzle to get the organization back on track is a role I’m excited for.”
Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ chief operating officer, did a great job of not being suckered into a bad deal despite the urgency to win now. He worked out a great trade with the Broncos for a receiver that will increase the talent level and will bring production immediately. Several arrows point to the right decision on this trade. Lloyd will be reunited with former Broncos head coach and now offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and his nine years of experience in the league.
Lloyd said he has yet to speak to McDaniels but that he’s “on the same page” with Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo after discussing his new role. Lloyd will be the elder statesmen among a very young group of receivers, one that needs direction, influence and leadership, but most of all an example on production.
With Danny Amendola on injured reserve, that leaves veteran Brandon Gibson, two rookies in Austin Pettis and Greg Salas and second-year player Danario Alexander. Wednesday will be exciting for Mark Clayton, who will be allowed to being practicing with the team. Coming off PUP (physically unable to perform), he has up to three weeks to prove to the coaches and training staff he belongs on the 53-man roster, which would make for interesting decisions on trimming the fat.
“There’s a lot of work to be done,” Lloyd said. “This is not a celebration for me escaping Denver. This is a move to help the organization get back on track. I’m clear in what my role is, I’m clear in what needs to be done, and I’m up to the challenge. I’m ready.”
A journeyman that is headed to his fifth team in nine seasons, Lloyd had his breakout season in 2010. His career was just adequate prior to that. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2003 and his best season was in 2004 with 43 receptions, 565 yards (13.1-yard average) and six touchdowns. In 2005, he had 48 receptions, 733 yards, 15.3-yard average and five touchdowns. After San Francisco, he had stops at Washington, Chicago and Denver Broncos where he enjoyed his best season in the NFL with 77 receptions, 1,448 yards (18.8-yard average) and 11 touchdowns.
Lloyd hopes to provide a spark for a group he believes needs more guidance and must elevate its play to bring out the best in quarterback Sam Bradford. I thought that was a programmed response from a Rams influence, because there is nothing wrong with Sam Bradford, other than the fact that he needs to be surrounded by play-makers and difference-makers (which is on the personnel department), like Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers. That is how you get the best out of Bradford and any quarterback with his skill set. Currently, the only Blue player with Bradford on offense is Steven Jackson.
The hope is Lloyd can accomplish more than just leadership, because the Rams don’t need leadership. They are getting that from Steven Jackson, Sam Bradford, James Hall, James Laurinaitis and Quintin Mikel. They need more Blue players (playmakers and difference-makers). Ones that show up every day, play consistently at a high level and bring a ton of production in every game. As we know, history will repeat itself, but the question is which Brandon Lloyd did the Rams trade for, last season’s Pro Bowler or the journeyman that several teams didn’t want on their roster?