Patriots release WR Brandon Lloyd

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

It looks like Lloyd may be one-and-done in New England.  (USATI)
It looks like Lloyd could be one-and-done in New England. (USATI)
Brandon Lloyd arrived in New Englandlast offseason with high expectations. He was reunited with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who coached Lloyd in Denver, where the wide receiver put up some impressive numbers. But after one productive season -- 74 catches, 911 yards and four touchdowns -- the Patriots are ready to move on ... for the time being, anyway.

The team announced Saturday that Lloyd has been released.

Lloyd replaced Chad Johnson as the Patriots' deep threat. And, relatively speaking, he was a huge upgrade (Johnson managed just 15 catches and a lone touchdown in 2011). But this could have less to do with Lloyd's on-field performance than his off-field behavior. Last month, the Boston Globe's Greg Bedard suggested that the wideout might not be long for Foxboro, at least at his current salary.

"Odds are against Lloyd's $3 million option bonus being picked up," Bedard wrote prior to the start of free agency. "There is still a lot of internal debate about what to do considering the Patriots literally couldn't line up tomorrow at receiver. Lloyd's erratic behavior in the locker room and on the practice field proved tiresome, according to a league and team source. If they cut Lloyd, that would save the Patriots $4.9 million against the cap this season, though there will be $2 million in dead money that can be spread out over two years. The team was smart to build in protection with Lloyd."

That said, Bedard tweeted Saturday that Lloyd "could return, maybe even quickly," adding that "(I) can't see how there's any market for him."

The Patriots hosted Steelers restricted free-agent receiver Emmanuel Sanders on Friday but hadn't signed him to an offer sheet as of Saturday morning. Sanders, 26, reminds us of a young Deion Branch. More importantly, he's considered a solid locker room presence.

For now, this much is certain: New England has Wes Welker's replacement in Danny Amendola, two of the league's best tight ends in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and two dynamic running backs in Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. And -- duh -- Tom Brady.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the Pick-6 Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.

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