With questions swirling around tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, and leading receiver Wes Welker preparing for his first season with his new team in Denver, the Patriots seem to have some serious problems finding an answer to the question "Who will catch Tom Brady's passes next season?" However, the answer might be more obvious than you think.
It's been pointed out that Brady's top 5 receivers from last season are gone or their status for next season is questionable. They are"
Wes Welker (new team Denver)
Aaron Hernandez (legal issues)
Rob Gronkowski (surgery)
Brandon Lloyd (no team)
Danny Woodhead (new team San Diego)
Notice the one key piece of information on that list: NO TEAM. Brandon Lloyd has no team yet. He's been the target of talks to potentially replace Michael Crabtree with the 49ers, and there's been speculation that he could sign with Baltimore, Cleveland or Oakland as well. However, he is still available, and his most recent job was here in New England. Given my belief that the Patriots will have to scale down the complexity of their offense next season to accommodate all the new faces in the locker room, and Tom Brady's efforts to grow more comfortable with those new receivers, it makes sense to bring a guy who just spent a year here back.
It's hard to say what kind of contract Lloyd would be seeking at this point. I'm sure a one year deal would be agreeable to a guy without a job this late in the off-season however. Lloyd wasn't the best fit here in New England, but he did snag 74 catches for almost 1,000 yards and it wouldn't hurt to have that kind of production back given the amount of questions we now see and good byes we've said.
Off-the-wall suggestion before I leave? Randy Moss. He loved it here, and certainly learned his lesson. The one question is whether he's still "got it". Wouldn't hurt to bring him in for a look would it? Just a thought...