49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

October 14, 2011
Brandon Lloyd on the trade block ... again

Death, taxes and Twitter queries. Whenever a prominent NFL player is cut or is on the trade block, you can count on Tweets pouring in. In this case, the object of everyone's curiosity is Broncos wideout Brandon Lloyd, who led the NFL in receiving last year. Denver reportedly wants a mid-round draft pick in return.


The 49ers drafted Lloyd in the fourth round in 2003. Three years later, they couldn't wait to trade him. They did just that, shipping him to the Redskins for a third-round draft choice in 2006 (the 49ers used it on WR Brandon Williams) and a fourth-round pick in 2007 (OLB Jay Moore).

During his rookie season, Lloyd had 565 yards and six touchdown catches, and he made several remarkable, Gumby-like receptions. His emergence made the 49ers feel better about parting ways with Terrell Owens after the 2003 season. Lloyd led the 49ers in receiving in 2005.

But Lloyd, an aspiring rapper, was also reviled by some of the veterans in the locker room. He came into the organization bubbling with confidence and arrogance, and he got on the wrong side of some of his teammates. Long-time fullback Fred Beasley once lamented that, following a grueling road loss, he had to listen to Lloyd talk about the length of his braids on the otherwise quiet plane ride back to San Jose.

Lloyd wasn't a tough guy, wasn't a good blocker downfield and famously alligator-armed a would-be touchdown catch during a tight game in wind-swept Chicago and afterward blamed the incompletion on his quarterback.

The 49ers were happy - smug, even - after dealing Lloyd to the Redskins. And it's worth noting that current general manager Trent Baalke was part of the 49ers brain trust when that decision was made. It's also worth noting that the Redskins came to rue the day they traded for Lloyd as this story illustrates.

The 49ers just signed a receiver, Brett Swain, to the 53-man roster on Wednesday. Yes, Jim Harbaugh said that he and others were so impressed with the workouts of the other tryout receivers that they considered adding two wideouts. The team only has five on the active roster.

Still, my sense is that if the 49ers were going to add someone, it would be T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Chris Chambers or Brian Finneran, not someone who was not a good fit in the organization five years ago, someone for whom the 49ers would have to give up a draft pick and someone who would be a free agent in March.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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