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Patriots release WR Brandon Lloyd

What we reported last month was highly likely -- receiver Brandon Lloyd being released so the Patriots didn’t have to pay his $3 million option bonus -- happened Saturday afternoon before the deadline, a league source said.

The Patriots specifically built this protection into the contract because Lloyd had the reputation for being hard to handle in his many previous stops. The Patriots were his sixth team in nine years.

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The move will clear $4.9 million off the Patriots’ cap, but there is $2 million in dead money. It could be split over two years if he is designated as a post-June 1 cut.

Lloyd was productive for the Patriots last season with 74 catches for 911 yards, but he was very inconsistent on the field as far as staying on his feet, fighting for the ball and having consistency with quarterback Tom Brady.

Lloyd was also a handful with in the locker room and on the practice field with his inconsistent personality, as we explained last month. He was not a favorite among his teammates.

Still, out of desperation at the position, Lloyd could still be back at a cheaper price if there’s no market for him. The Patriots like to cover their bases, especially heading into the draft. Whether Lloyd makes the team is another story.

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