The Denver Broncos made one bold move in promoting Tim Tebow this week. They might soon make another.
The trade deadline is Tuesday, and there are reports the Broncos are shopping Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Lloyd.
Lloyd is in the final year of his deal that pays him about $1.4-million this season, a bargain for a player who led the league with 1,448 yards receiving last year, when he caught 77 passes, 11 of them for touchdowns.
His numbers are down this year but his value is still high and might generate a mid-round draft pick.
The Broncos are off this weekend, and when they return from their bye they're expected to get wide receivers Eddie Royal and Demaryius Thomas back from injuries along with rookie tight end Julius Thomas.
Royal (groin) and Julius Thomas (ankle) have missed the last three games, all losses, after getting hurt against Cincinnati on Sept. 18. Demaryius Thomas, the team's top draft pick in 2010 — selected three spots ahead of Tebow at No. 22 — hasn't played at all this season.
He missed camp while recovering from a torn right Achilles tendon and the Broncos made the surprising move of keeping him on their active 53-man roster rather than putting him on the PUP list to start the season. But he shattered his left pinkie in his first padded practice and underwent surgery to place screws into the finger to speed its healing.
He has yet to return to practice, and while it could take him a while to return to form, the Broncos have other targets, including Eric Decker, a second-year pro who has five touchdowns so far.
The Denver Post reported the Broncos have been in talks with other teams regarding Lloyd, a ninth-year pro who is coming off his first Pro Bowl season. General manager Brian Xanders didn't return messages left by The Associated Press.
Possible suitors include the Tennessee Titans and the St. Louis Rams, both of whom are in need of big-play threats down the field.
Lloyd missed one game with a strained groin this season and has caught 19 passes for a team-high 283 yards but hasn't reached the end zone yet.
During his breakout 2011 season, Lloyd had 18 catches for 25 yards or more and posted the third-highest receiving average (18.8 yards) since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
When Lloyd said last month that he wanted more involvement in the Broncos' passing game, coach John Fox pointed to a strained groin as one reason for the dearth of downfield chances for Lloyd, and Orton noted that Lloyd was getting a lot of attention from defensive co-ordinators and the flow of the games had dictated a different approach.
Lloyd said Denver's offensive doctrine was the primary culprit, suggesting the coaching staff was “staying true to the philosophy of running the ball. I think we've kind of gotten in game management mode, as opposed to an aggressive, take-control mode. I think that's what has limited us.”
Now that Orton's no longer calling the plays, the Broncos are expected to go to even more of a ball-control offence under Tebow, a scrambler who lacks the precise passing Orton usually displayed.