Brandon Lloyd out for Patriots, Sanders in?

March, 16, 2013
3/16/13
5:00
PM ET
The New England Patriots decided to cut receiver Brandon Lloyd after just one season, the team announced. The Patriots were in discussions with Lloyd about taking a pay cut, but could not reach a resolution before his $3 million bonus was due this weekend.

Lloyd’s release means New England will continue a drastic makeover at receiver. Lloyd joins Pro Bowler Wes Welker as starting receivers who will not return to the Patriots in 2013. Patriots backup receiver Julian Edelman also is an unrestricted free agent.

Lloyd caught 74 passes for 911 yards and four touchdowns in his only season with New England. Those are solid numbers. However, Lloyd struggled at times to get on the same page as quarterback Tom Brady. Lloyd wasn't the consistent force on the outside the team expected.

The Patriots already found Welker’s replacement with Danny Amendola. But who will replace Lloyd?

This could set the table for New England to make a push for Pittsburgh Steelers receiver and restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders. The Patriots hosted Sanders for a visit on Friday, and according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, they are deciding whether to make an offer.

Pittsburgh has a tight salary cap and could have trouble matching a potential offer from New England. If Pittsburgh declines, it would cost the Patriots a third-round draft pick for Sanders.

Other than Sanders, there are not many free-agent options for the Patriots to land a starting-caliber receiver. The draft also isn't top-heavy at receiver. So the Patriots might have to get creative to replace Lloyd.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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