San Francisco 49ers: 4 Options to Replace Michael Crabtree

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Brandon Lloyd

Dec 16, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (85) makes a reception while defended by San Francisco 49ers defensive back Chris Culliver (29) during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. The San Francisco 49ers won 41-34. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Lloyd didn’t turn many heads in New England, but the veteran could take over a big role during Crabtree’s absence if the 49ers decide to pursue him.

The former 49er caught 74 passes in 2012 with the Patriots, but the Patriots and Lloyd parted ways after the season. Lloyd is still available, and he would be a great fit in San Francisco. Crabtree made big, game-changing plays, and Lloyd knows how to do the same thing. In 2010, despite having a mediocre quarterback in Kyle Orton, Lloyd averaged an insane 18.8 yards per catch (YPC) and led the league in receiving yards.

With Lloyd and Boldin, the passing attack would be able to maintain its dominance. Lloyd’s career average of 14.8 YPC leaves nothing to be desired, and his experience will help as well. Kaepernick knows how to get on the same page as his receivers, and the same can happen with Lloyd.

Having an experienced veteran who can make spectacular catches would definitely help Kaepernick and the offense stay strong. Lloyd and Crabtree are somewhat similar, and while Crabtree has done more lately, Lloyd has more experience under his belt and has averaged about two more YPC than Crabtree over the course of their respective careers.

Attitude is a concern, but Jim Harbaugh could definitely control Lloyd. Being on a winning team will also help satisfy Lloyd, who had never played in a playoff game before 2012. If Lloyd proved to be a headache, Harbaugh would take action. However, there’s a good chance he wouldn’t need to.

Yes, Crabtree is younger, and yes, Crabtree is better. However, with almost three months of free agency in the books, Lloyd would definitely be classified as a steal. For a team in need of a wide receiver to take a big role for two months of games, Lloyd would be a perfect fit.