The Patriots haven't really replaced Randy Moss. They've done just fine without him, as the statistics and won-loss record since he left indicate. But the home-run element, the need to guard against a wideout either running right past or jumping right over a corner, doesn't exist for this team right now. That explains why they were in the hunt for Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. The 30-year-old Lloyd, who led the NFL with 1,448 receiving yards in his breakout 2010 season, is in the final year ofhis deal with the Broncos and has requested a trade. Multiple reports had the Patriots in the mix for Lloyd's services, along with San Francisco and St. Louis. Ultimately, the Rams sewed up Lloyd, according to Jason LaCanfora at the NFL Network. The fact Lloyd becomes a free agent at the end of the year means that any team acquiringhim ranthe risk of losing whatever pick it sent in compensation after just 10 games of regular-season service in 2011 if it can'tre-sign Lloyd. And the Patriots' dynamic in trying to re-sign Lloyd would have been complicated by the fact they can't (and shouldn't) disrespect Wes Welker - also a free agent to-be - with an offer to retain Lloyd that would have trumped something Welker's offered. But the asking price for Lloyd - who has 19 catches for 283 yards in four games this season - was intriguing enough for the Patriots, experts at buying quality on the cheap. The pros to Lloyd? He jumps out of the gym (7-2 high jump in high school) and doesn't have a lot of wear on his tires. He also worked in Josh McDaniels' offense when McDaniels - now the Rams offensive coordinator - was in Denver. Cons? One year of great production and a background of inconsistency. That the Patriots are looking to add a wideout right now shows just how useless the acquisition and expenditure on Chad Ochocinco has been. And since they've already burned two picks on a guy who's made just nine catches and will cost 6 million probably made them think twice about upping the ante on Lloyd.
The long-running 'Deflategate' report, released at last, casts aspersions on the Patriots, as it concludes Tom Brady 'was at least generally aware' that game balls were deflated.