Not that Brandon.
The Redskins have plenty of cap room. Even if they give tight end Chris Cooley a big contract, they have the cap room. Lloyd might be a gifted athlete, but he's not a standup guy in the locker room. Corey Bradford, Jason McAddley, Mike Espy or any of the other backup receivers can score zero touchdowns as well as Lloyd and for a heck of a lot less money and aggravation.
Cut Brandon Lloyd now.
What flustered me most about Brandon Lloyd last year wasn't the zero touchdowns, although that was the effect of overall disappointing production, nor was it even the illustrious thrown helmet, although that proved symptomatic of general malcontentedness. Rather it was this exchange documented by Jason Canfora back in January:
According to a member of the organization who witnessed the exchange, Saunders approached Lloyd at halftime.
"Tough one out there. Those lights are tough," Saunders said.
Lloyd looked at him coldly.
"You're joking, right?" he said.
"No," said Saunders. "It looked like you lost it in the lights."
"What? That ball was 10 yards underthrown," Lloyd said. "Go talk to the quarterback."
Now that you're buttered up, I'll make the case for cutting Brandon Lloyd, though I disagree with it.
Much of what Elfin levels at Lloyd is true. He is a bust relative to his salary; he's paid #2 WR money yet is playing at the #3 WR position. He did throw his helmet during a game (though cutting him for that would be a fairly tardy penalty). And this roster is loaded to survive a Brandon Lloyd cut at WR. With the addition of Bradford to the roster, we could still make a 5 WR unit that is respectable without Lloyd, something like: Moss, Randle-El, Thrash, Bradford, Espy. How reader(s) feel about that lineup depends on whether they think Thrash is comparable to Lloyd. Football Outsiders says they aren't; Thrash was simply better in '06.
Moving to financials, per PC's Salary page updated July 28th, and I always butcher this shit, we've got Lloyd at ~2.4M against the cap for 2007 with that number escalating by 1.8M in 2008 on "Other Bonuses" and the base salary growing from ~600K to 3.5M by 2009. We're not paying that 2009 excepting substantial increase in production and value out of Brandon Lloyd. So, for me, the question is whether he's cut this year or next year.
If I'm reading it right, which I'm probably not, he had 10M guaranteed of which we've paid off just ~1.8M. Per Redskins Insider last December:
They could take a $9 million hit all at once - offset by whatever bonus the player would get elsewhere - and spread it over two years at around $1.5 in 2007 and $7.5 in 2008. No easy way around it.
I say all that to cast partial doubt on Elfin's assertion that we could afford to cut him easily. I don't know where Chris Cooley and his agent are relative to the 'Skins, so I can't say with certainty that we can afford to cut Lloyd and sign Cooley. That depends on how much Cooley costs. Thus I vote to keep Lloyd at least one additional year (to chip away at 1.8M of that guaranteed money) due to the fact that I care more about signing Cooley than I do about ridding us of Brandon Lloyd.
Having reviewed the numbers, I don't think my initial reaction was warranted. David Elfin is on to something here, maybe, but I cannot endorse that action without additional numbers relating to Cooley. What I think is certain, at this point, is that Brandon Lloyd will not see the entirety of his contract with the Redskins, as it will proverbially be thrown out, with the escalating base salary representing the bathwater and Brandon Lloyd representing the baby, perhaps appropriately.
Nothing would make me happier than for Lloyd to win the #2 WR job next year, get ~700-800 yards and 6-8 touchdowns, and earn his way into that contract. I would love to be wrong about Brandon.