Chicago Sun-Times

Four Down Territory, March 9: Could Brandon Lloyd catch on again?

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We're already into the second week of free agency and the action has pretty much slowed to a trickle. The Bears are gearing up for their mandatory veteran minicamp, which begins on the soonest date possible, Monday, March 16. The players will take physicals that day and then three days of practices begin the following day. There's no drama this time around. Remember, Brian Urlacher made threats that he wouldn't show last year, upset at stalled talks for what eventually became an $18 million, one-year extension. Let's jump into the mailbag and see what we have.

Q: If we all agree that the Bears need a wide receiver and will more than likely target one in the draft, why have they not as of yet re-signed Brandon Lloyd to, at the minimum, a one-year deal to take the Marty Booker spot? They will still have a roster spot available for a rookie in the draft. Lloyd, despite being hurt, was productive when in the lineup and much more reliable than Rashied Davis for Kyle Orton.

Eric, Orlando, Fla.

A: I'm not sure reliable is an adjective I'd use to describe Lloyd. In fact, I'm not sure that word has ever described him in his NFL career. You have to climb into the Way Back Machine and go back to Weeks 12-14 of the 2005 season to find the last time Lloyd caught three or more passes in three consecutive games. I'd say that's a fairly simple measurement for reliability of veteran wide receiver. Lloyd suffered a minor knee injury in Week 4 last season against the Philadelphia Eagles. He was told he would be sidelined two to four weeks. He took five, six if you count the bye week, and made it known to everyone he wasn't going to be back on the field until he was 100 percent. Upon returning, Lloyd made seven catches in six games before breaking out with four receptions for 34 yards in the season finale at Houston. At least Davis was on the field.

Lloyd had a major backer with the Bears in offensive coordinator Ron Turner, his college coach at Illinois. But Lloyd simply didn't produce enough to be asked back. I would be surprised if the Bears pursue him. Remember, general manager Jerry Angelo has said the Bears are looking for starters at the position when he announced on the team's Web site last week, ``We're not looking for backup wide receivers. What we want are potentially starting wide receivers.'' To think Lloyd is anything but a backup right now is to make a mistake. I doubt seriously he will be invited back and the Bears would be better served to see if someone like Brandon Rideau can contribute than bring back a retread who did little.


Q: My question is about the recent re-signing of Kevin Jones. What we have seen of Garrett Wolfe, most of it in 2007, has been OK and I think he is similar to Darren Sproles. But with Jones it's obvious that Wolfe will have little if any time of play. So I am wondering if you think Wolfe or Adrian Peterson will be cut before September? I would cut Peterson because Wolfe has been great on special teams. Do you think the Bears can work a deal and trade Wolfe, maybe for another player or for a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick?

Álvaro G., Madrid, Spain

A: Certainly the return of Jones, who signed a $3.5 million, two-year contract, is going to make it more challenging for Wolfe, the third-round pick from 2007, to find more playing time. In paying Jones $2 million this season, they're not going to want him to stand around as he was forced to do much of last season when he was inactive for four games at midseason. After Week 5, he got just four carries. I can't imagine Jones would agree to return unless he felt there would be a much greater opportunity for him to get on the field.

At the same time, the Bears must find out what they have in Wolfe in Year 3. It would be nice if he could become an elusive threat like Sproles in San Diego. It wasn't until Sproles' third year that he really got an opportunity to do anything, and that year he was still trying to get time with LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Turner on the roster. Talk about an embarrassment of riches for the Chargers. Wolfe performed well on special teams but with some creativity Turner should be able to find a regular use for him on offense. Otherwise, there was a major disconnect between the scouting department and the coaching staff when the Bears used a third-round pick on Wolfe.

You raise an interesting point in regards to Peterson and Wolfe as reserves. Typically, teams do not carry four running backs on the roster. The Bears did last season and it virtually ensures the team can have only one fullback. Peterson is what one source once called a ``security blanket'' for the coaching staff. He can do a little bit of everything. But he had only 20 carries last season and has had more than 22 just twice in his career. Peterson has been a valuable player on special teams but he turns 30 in July and will make $745,000 this season. The squeeze might not be on him but it's hard to say he has a guaranteed spot. Time will tell.


Q: Everybody has spent a lot of blog time discussing free-agent receivers and then why the Bears won't sign them. I thought it might be worthwhile to look at the roster to check my knowledge of what they already have. I'm a bit ashamed to admit that it was more interesting than expected. Just who are Devin Aromashodu, Rudy Burgess and John Broussard? Do you think they will offer anything for the Bears this year? If you get on a roll, what about Brandon Rideau? Could he escape special teams and do anything?

Gary H., Mississippi

A: The first three receivers you rattled off are all players that joined the Bears during the 2008 season. Aromashodu was the only one to spend time on the active roster. He was snatched off the practice squad of the Washington Redskins in early December when defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek was placed on injured reserve for the third consecutive season. But Aromashodu was inactive for the final three games.

Burgess joined the practice squad on Nov. 19. I'm not positive he will be a receiver. That's what they announced him as when he arrived but shortly after that he was working with the cornerbacks. Currently, the team's Web site lists him as a receiver. We'll find out at minicamp next week.

Broussard joined the practice squad Oct. 15. He missed some time during the season with a sprained ankle. He's a speed guy who can stretch the field vertically. I'm not sure any of these three have a shot to get much past training camp, but who knows?

As far as Rideau, I don't know if he can escape special teams because he'd have to get their first. One of the knocks against him is that he has been unable to contribute on special teams. He hasn't done a whole lot of it and he didn't grab his opportunity and run with it in preseason. He did, however, lead the NFL with three touchdown catches in preseason. It's going to be tough for any backup receiver to latch on if he cannot help on special teams. If Rideau can advance his game that way, he'd certainly be interesting to see on the field at 6-3, 198 pounds. I don't know if he can get open against starting cornerbacks. He did fine playing late in preseason games.

Q: Do you think the Bears are at all likely to pursue any veterans such as Marvin Harrison or Derrick Brooks, for short-term help after next week's minicamp? And do they have any offensive linemen other than John St. Clair anywhere on their radar?

Micah M., Parts Unknown

A: Unfortunately, Jerry Angelo has not gotten back to me yet with his plan for the second wave of free agency. I'm anxiously awaiting his phone call. I don't believe Harrison is a fit for the Bears and after 11 seasons with Peyton Manning, I highly doubt he would have any interest in joining the Bears. It will be interesting to see if the future Hall of Famer continues his career. Some have suggested a possible reunion with his college quarterback Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia, which is also Harrison's hometown. We'll see. What would the Bears do with Brooks if they signed him? They have a better Brooks right now in Lance Briggs.

I don't know of any other offensive linemen on the team's radar other than St. Clair. I would expect a resolution on his situation by the end of the week. As I wrote last week, it makes too much sense for this re-signing not to happen. The Bears need St. Clair and this would likely provide him with the best opportunity to start in 2009. He'd be penciled in right away as the starting right tackle.

Thanks for all of the participation and thanks as always for reading. Get your questions in and we'll return to the mailbox on Tuesday.

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16 Comments

Signed 2 people:

Someone want to go down to Halas Hall and see if the phone is off the hook?

I actually liked Loyd, he was a pretty good WR when not injured, except for that flaw he did pretty good.
I would sign him again and let Davis go as well.

just saw Tra Thomas signed w/ the Jags...somebody knock JA in the head on the 17th pick so we can land a decent Tackle!!!

Brad, normally at this point in free agency it seems that there are usually leaks or news about potential free agent visits. While I think that the Omiyale pick up was a good value move early on and re-signing Kevin Jones is quietly a very good move for quality depth on the roster, are the Bears really waiting on John St. Clair as a center piece of their free agency strategy? What possible back up plans could they have with respect to the John St. Clair offer? At what point do they start talking to other FA OT's that may be younger, quicker and more explosive?

Also do you think Khalif Barnes off-field issues and arrest has caused Jerry Angelo to not look in his direction?

Thanks,

Adam P.
Winnipeg, MB

It seems that the BEARS are not the only team not doing much in Free agency this season. Maybe the agents have been asking for more than a player is worth to owners today, there are more players available who should have been signed by their teams or a different franchise by now. I think the owners are looking for bargains and we might not see much action until after the draft. Teams are targeting prospects for upgrades, and if they can't get what they want in the draft will look at Free agents... even Peter King was surprised that Leftwich has not signed at this point, Lewis still waiting on his deal with Balt. and several others are waiting on money...I know we see a lot of BEARS bashing out here, but do we really want to overpay for some of these guys out there......
Brad: any news about Mike Brown, has he been talking to anyone out there??? is ther a remote possiblity he might be back under a restructured deal later this spring?.....Go BEARS

Bringing back Lloyd could only be done if he accepts a similar deal as he got last season, don't see it happening either, Davis is a valuable special teams guy as is Peterson, I don't see either one getting cut, they know there roles and do them well in that aspect of the game, rideau did show well on special teams late last season and would probably get on the field if he could get to around 210lbs without losing any speed....

Chi not everyone is paying a lot for Players, TO just went for a song and for one year, which is the only way you really want TO on your team. Haynesworth was the only real big Price tag out there and Washington paid less for him than the Bucs offered. It was still to much but he is damn good.

I heard Angelo was actually depressed he has not gotten to sign some guys he wanted to. By the way the 2006 Bears, he had 8 FA starters on offense, including Tait who got a fat contract, and T. Jones had a decent deal as well. While some fans didn't like Moose the question remains was it him or the QB, he played much better in CAR this year, and he did help the Bears get to a Super Bowl, Des Clark has helped this team and he was a FA signing, St. Clair was also a FA and so was Brown who really helped the run game.

Whats sad is Angelo does better in FA than the draft, he is not good at scouting players, but his FA's have generally been helpful. Now the Bears want to see if he can build a team the way PIT does. Which is not going to help Angelo. The other problem is PIT knows when it's time to let a player go, Angelo doesn't. Like Urlacher would never have gotten that extension in PIT, niether would Harris.

I think I've seen corpses move faster than JA on decisions.

Lloyd made some athletic catches-- let's bring him back. It seems that offering Mike Brown an incentive-laden deal is a no-brainer.

Brad,

You listed Chris willams cap number for 2009, as $1,833,550 in a recent article, but based on your numbers from last year, shouldn't it be $385,000(sal)+$100,000(SB)+ $175,000(LTBE) or $660,000? Was the roster bonus not paid last year?

thank you.


By Brad Biggson August 8, 2008 6:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBacks (0)
We were waiting for the return of Chris Williams to the practice field to take a look at this information, but with the first-round pick sidelined for the foreseeable future now following surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back, we'll go through it.

Williams, the 14th overall selection, signed a five-year deal with a maximum value of $16 million.

Here is a look at how the numbers break down:

He received a signing bonus of $500,000. There is a roster bonus for $1,126,000 and an option bonus that comes to $5,565,000. There's also a not-likely-to-be earned incentive of $2,009,000 that is achieved with a minimum play time lever. That brings the total bonus money in the deal to $9.2 million.

Williams has an annual Pro Bowl incentive worth $175,000 each season, a clause the Bears do not use a whole lot but have done from time to time with first-round picks.

Base pay

2008--$295,000
2009--$385,000
2010--$740,000
2011--$1,095,250
2012--$1,000,000

Williams has a workout bonus worth $284,750 in 2012 and there is an escalator for the final year of the deal worth $2,125,000. The escalator is believed to be trigged by play time.

My question still remains. With the lack of young, solid starting WR’s that are or were on the UFA list I still cant understand the lack of interest in Boldin. The Cardinals recently acquired Mcfadden, meaning the needed a CB. The Bears had perfect Trade bait in Vasher and draft picks which could have helped fuel a trade for Boldin. I understand Angelo’s philosophy in building thru the draft and not overpaying for 30+ yr old or underachieving role playing WR’s but why would they not try to acquire this young solid starter. Yes he is going to demand a large contract but so is a rookie WR drafting in the top 20. They have the cap room to give Boldin the contract he wants and it eliminates the need to draft and or develop a rookie WR or a 2nd year WR like Bennett. If the Bears want Hester to develop into a true #1 WR he needs a solid contributor on the opposite side not a another project. If they made the trade they could then concentrate on getting O-Line, D-Line and Secondary help in the draft. Why not Boldin?

LLoyd had a bad history of sitting out or not showing up some of the time in the past for teams like San Francisco and Washington. He has great potential, but there is no burning desire to succeed with Lloyd. One great game last year and a couple of OK games, then he sits out about 3 games more than everyone thought he should to be 100%. A Heinz Ward type would have been out on the field busting ars, we need some of those Heinz Ward types of WR's on the roster not Lloyd.

I would far rather give a guy like Rideau a chance to show what he has during the season, not just preseason, than to count on a guy like Lloyd, who truly cannot be counted on to be an every day productive WR.

I say cut bait!!

With the signing of Omiyale and the possible return of St Clair, Maybe WR will be the first position addressed in the draft. There has been chatter of the Da Bears receiving a compensatory draft pick in the Third round. If so, OT, S and DE can be addressed with the next three picks. If all of this holds true, Da Bears can have a pretty productive first day. This is all assuming that productive players are actually picked. Mini-camp will detemine a lot. Just looking at the roster, it's obvious to see that WR and FS are our weakest position and in need of the most help. Not saying we are set at other positions, it's just, those two are the weakest. I know our O-line and D-line are in need of some help, but we still have servicable players on the roster. WR is just horrible to look at. As well as the FS position. I feel strongly that these positions should have been addressed in free agency as well as in the draft. But if JA feels the draft is the way to go, then we have no choice but to suggests the best possible solutions. Go Bears!!!!

Just a note, it just kills me the hear JA say they've tried to address the WR positions in free agency in the past and it didn't work out. How is signing two Has-beens an attempt to fix the position! It's that kind of thinking that is ruining this organization.

i think Lloyd is a really goog WR. if u go back and look at his high lights.there all him mostly catching the ball over his head or behind him.and davis, he was in the game the hole season but i didnt see him make any catches that makes me go wow. also john st. clair. wow you guys cant do better then that. i have seen why better linemen go by then him. he cant block the out side guy. i seen him miss about 15 blocks this year. so why dont they find a better guy

When we signed Lloyd last year, I had some guarded optimism. His highlight reel catches make him look really tempting, and I thought perhaps getting cut and left for dead would make him wake up and realize what it takes to make it in the NFL. I think Ron Turner must have hoped for the same.

The sad fact is the guy is a complete waste of talent because of his attitude. You can sum up the guy's whole career by reading his quote about not stepping back onto the field until he was 100%. His career with the Bears was over with the Bears when he said that.(remember Griese in the press conference after the '07 Philly game?)

Dahlillama, you're right on about Heinz Ward. A guy like that is a very good WR and will still bust his but to make a block for a teammate. I wish we had 3 of him in our WR corps.

Volpi, I understand your frustration with St. Clair...I feel the same thing every time I see Metcalf in uniform or hear the name Qassim Mitchell. I actually don't blame the Bears for the St. Clair situation last year. He was on the roster as a backup lineman because he can play all 4 outer positions. Considering what was expected of him going into the season, I think almost everyone was pleasantly surprised that he wasnt a glaring weakness. That's not to say that he should be a starting tackle for any team, but he did better than expected after being pressed into the starting role.

I think what's really going on is this - Today's college schemes combined with NFL expansion means that the NCAA just doesn't produce enough talented guys to fill the needed spots in the pro game. I've noticed a general drop in O-liners and Fullbacks over the last several years.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 9, 2009 7:24 PM.

Bears indeed on the scene at Georgia Tech was the previous entry in this blog.

Four Down Territory, March 10: A change of heart with Mike Brown? is the next entry in this blog.

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