Dwelling in the cellar of the AFC West with a 1-4 record, the Denver Broncos traded one of their top players on Monday. ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that the Broncos shipped wide receiver Brandon Lloyd to the Rams for a 6th round draft pick in 2012.
Depending on one's confidence in Tim Tebow to pilot the Broncos' offense during the remainder of the season, this trade could be seen as either a white flag of surrender or a savvy move for a team reconfiguring its strategy on the fly. Given Tebow's terrestrial strengths and shaky accuracy as a passer, Lloyd is not exactly as dangerous as he would be in a more lateral passing attack.
Either way, the signal that the St. Louis Rams, another team not exactly covering itself in glory to start the season, are sending is clearer. They do not plan on going winless the rest of the way. In Lloyd, young Rams quarterback Sam Bradford finally has a go-to receiver.
Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network first reported that the deal was imminent, but both teams continued working on the trade through Monday afternoon. Mort tweeted that the Broncos took the best deal they could get, considering that Lloyd was going to walk as a free agent at the end of the season. ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted that the compensatory pick will improve to a fifth rounder if Lloyd hits certain receiving benchmarks with the Rams.
Lloyd is the second prominent wide receiver to get traded in less than a week. The New York Jets shipped veteran Derrick Mason to the Houston Texans for a conditional seventh-round draft pick.
The 30-year-old Lloyd will be reunited with Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was Lloyd's head coach last season in Denver when he caught 77 passes for 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns.