The Los Angeles Rams have been one of the better teams in the NFL over the past few seasons at getting after the opposing teams’ quarterbacks. While five-time first-team All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald has garnered most of the attention, and rightfully so, the Rams have used a slew of unheralded pass-rushers to accumulate sacks. Aside from Donald, the team has had just one defender record more than 8.5 sacks in a single season since 2014.
Still, the Rams managed to finish 2019 with a team total of 50 sacks on the year, fourth-most in all of football. However, after letting Dante Fowler hit the open market in free agency, the team was desperate to find a new player to man the edge of their defense. On Wednesday they found just that, agreeing to terms with a former top-10 overall draft pick.
Rams Agree to Terms With Leonard Floyd
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Rams have struck a deal with former Chicago Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd. The one-year contract is worth $10 million with an extra $3 million in incentives.
The Floyd move likely serves as a direct response to Dante Fowler taking his talents to Atlanta, reportedly agreeing to a deal with the Falcons.
Fowler is coming off a career season in which he recorded double-digit sacks for the first time in his NFL career, leaving a massive hole on the edge of the Rams defense.
Now the only question is will Floyd be able to fill that hole?
Floyd Never Lived Up to Hype in Chicago
Floyd was released on Tuesday by the Bears in a somewhat surprising move. While Floyd never materialized into the player many hoped he would be as a long lanky specimen coming out of Georgia, he was still an average defender for Chicago, just not the pass rusher that the Bears have been in search for.
The Bears believe they have now found that player, and agreed to terms Tuesday with former Rams and Cowboys defensive end Robert Quinn. Quinn landed a massive five-year deal worth $70 million, $30 million of which is guaranteed. The addition of Quinn ultimately spelled the end to Floyd’s underwhelming tenure in Chicago, leading many to ultimately paint him as a draft bust.
Despite starting all 16 games for Chicago in 2019, the 28-year old linebacker recorded a career-low 3.0 sacks, along with just three tackles for loss.
Was Floyd Improperely Typecasted From the Jump?
Floyd entered the NFL with sky-high expectations. His length and burst are the type of attributes you see from a prototypical pass rusher. In return, this led many to peg Floyd as a big-time edge prospect coming out of college.
However, during his time at Georgia, Floyd was rarely used as a stand-alone pass-rusher, instead constantly being moved around the Bulldogs defensive alignment, while playing the majority of his snaps as a standup defender. Throughout his three years as a member of the Georgia Bulldogs, he never recorded more than 6.5 sacks. In fact, some would argue his best trait coming out of college was his coverage ability.
So while Floyd may look the part of an elite pass-rusher, he may be best served in a different role with the Rams if the organization has any hopes of tapping into his untapped potential.