Trade Spin: Brandon Lloyd, meet me in St. Louis

The trading deadline in the NFL is generally a nothing event. It's common for the bell to ring without anything major happening, and even when name players do change clubs, we can't be sure that fantasy value will ensue (consider the Randy Moss fiasco in Minnesota last year). Picking up a new system in the middle of a season can be a tall order.

That all said, the Brandon Lloyd trade from Monday feels like a breath of fresh air.

The Rams picked up Lloyd on the cheap, swapping a sixth-round pick to Denver in exchange for the contract-year wideout. The pick becomes a fifth-round choice if Lloyd catches 30 passes in St. Louis. That target shouldn't be a problem for Lloyd; he's expected to play in Week 7, the Rams have already taken their bye week, and he knows the Josh McDaniels offense well from their time together with the Broncos. The McDaniels scheme made Lloyd a 77-catch, 1448-yard star in 2010. (I can almost hear McDaniels doing his Ari Gold imitation as I'm typing this; perhaps Gold will represent Lloyd on the next contract negotiation.)

If there's a mild loser in this news, it could be Danario Alexander, who looked like the best Rams wideout in the Sunday loss at Green Bay. He'll battle Brandon Gibson for an outside starting spot going forward (I'd still bet on Alexander), while Greg Salas probably sticks in the slot. Mark Clayton could also sneak into the mix (he might come off the PUP list this week), but until we know his knee is sound, I'm not interested. Forget Mike Sims-Walker, who was deactivated Sunday and is expected to be released this week. Monday's trade happened largely because of his inability to produce in this offense.

Lloyd isn't sublime enough to single-handedly bail out Sam Bradford's crummy season, but at least he'll give Bradford the first legitimate playmaker of his brief career. And with the Rams defense getting pushed around by everyone, Bradford and Co. should be winging it each week. Look at the remaining schedule; the Rams probably won't be favored more than 2-3 times the rest of the year, if that. The Cowboys and Saints are waiting (and licking their chops) in Weeks 7 and 8.{YSP:MORE}

I'll solidify my QB and WR rankings in Wednesday's Shuffle Up and Pass, but for now, give Bradford pre-slotting of 19 at quarterback, and look for Lloyd somewhere around 18-20 at receiver (colleague Brad Evans is a little more bullish on Lloyd than I am). Had Lloyd been forced to stick in Denver — where Tim Tebow is taking over and the passing game will be frowned upon — his rank would have been considerably lower.

Eric Decker's value with the Broncos is probably a wash from all this. He should receive more targets with Lloyd out of town, but he also has to fight through defenses keying on him. Mix it all together and we'll take the added opportunity, but Tebow isn't a star-making quarterback. Decker probably will be a WR3 on my weekly boards until he proves he can make it all work. Demaryius Thomas and Eddie Royal could be names of interest in deeper leagues, as they'll battle for a starting gig now that Lloyd is gone. Both are coming off injuries (and Thomas has yet to take a snap in 2011), but the duo was in action at Denver's workout Monday.

I won't weep for Tebow owners: you got into this for his ability to run, not pass. The loss of Lloyd won't cause a seismic rank change on the Mile High Messiah.

Since the Broncos are obviously in a trading mood, allow me to suggest one more: how about moving Kyle Orton to the Raiders? No one wants to see Kyle Boller back on the field anytime soon. Forget about David Garrard, who apparently is headed for back surgery (hat tip, Jay Glazer).
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Image courtesy of Associated Press

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