By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd agreed to a long-term contract with the Washington Redskins yesterday, nearly six weeks after the team acquired him in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but according to sources, Lloyd was seeking a contract in line with Antwaan Randle El, who signed a six-year, $27 million free agent deal with the Redskins last month.
Lloyd, 24, was traded to the Redskins in early March for a third-round draft choice this year and a fourth-round pick in 2007. That trade was the first major move of a Redskins offseason that began with uncertainty because of the collective bargaining impasse between the NFL and its players' union and ended with the Redskins revamping their receiving unit. Washington also added two well-known players on defense, in 49ers defensive end Andre Carter and St. Louis Rams safety Adam Archuleta.
Lloyd had been a restricted free agent in San Francisco and was in the last year of his contract. As part of the trade, Lloyd expected to renegotiate his current contract. He had been scheduled to earn $1.57 million this season.
The acquisition of Lloyd underscored a strong degree of urgency on the part of the Redskins to improve their wide receiving corps.
During the 2005 season, especially after a season-ending knee injury to David Patten one week before Thanksgiving, it became clear that despite a career year from Santana Moss -- he totaled a team-record 1,483 receiving yards in his first season in Washington -- the Redskins did not possess sufficient weapons at wide receiver. Even the breakout season of H-back Chris Cooley did not obscure the Redskins' receiving deficiencies. Only one other wide receiver, Taylor Jacobs, recorded a reception in the five-game stretch between Patten's injury and the season finale against Philadelphia, when James Thrash caught a pass against the Eagles.
Days after acquiring Lloyd, the Redskins charged into the free agent market and went after the versatile Randle El, whose contract contained $11.5 million in guaranteed money.
Neither the Redskins nor Lloyd's representatives reached a point of deadlock in reaching a deal, but signing him proved somewhat more challenging. Lloyd bucked convention by appearing for a week of optional workouts at the Redskins' training facility in Ashburn last month even though he did not have a new deal, saying that he was eager to begin with the Redskins and was confident that an agreement would be complete within a week or so.
Yet as time passed without a contract, it appeared that a deal proved more difficult. According to sources, Lloyd sought a contract at least on par with the contracts signed by Moss and Randle El. Moss signed a six-year, $31 million deal last May.
In his best overall season, 2005, Lloyd caught 48 passes for 733 yards and five touchdowns for San Francisco. He had not only impressed the Redskins with his hands, but also with his flair for the dramatic. On numerous occasions, Coach Joe Gibbs and members of the Redskins secondary noted Lloyd's ability to make the circus catch as well as the routine catch.