Heading into the offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders have issues to fix all over the defense. While the team has needs in the secondary and at linebacker, the defensive line might be the biggest issue. Las Vegas only had 21 sacks last season, which was fourth-worst in the NFL.
The Raiders likely won’t have enough money to land one of the big-name pass rushers but there’s a shot they could go after a rising star. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes that Los Angeles Rams pass rusher Leonard Floyd would be “ideal” for the silver and black:
Pass-rusher Leonard Floyd, meanwhile, rejuvenated his career a bit during a one-year stint with the Rams. After amassing only seven combined sacks in 2018 and 2019, he racked up 10.5 in 2020 to go with 30 quarterback pressures.
The Raiders will have to clear some cap room to make a deal, of course, as they’re projected to be more than $14 million over the cap. However, Floyd—who played on a $10 million deal last season—should be relatively cheap compared to defenders like Shaquil Barrett and Leonard Williams.
Floyd is 28 and should be entering his athletic prime. His 2020 season could be a sign of things to or it could be an anomaly. The Raiders need to make sure they know before they consider offering him big money.
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Signing Floyd Could Be Bad Idea
When discussing Floyd’s free agency, there’s an Aaron Donald-sized elephant in the room. There’s almost no denying that the Rams star defensive tackle is the most dominant defensive player in the NFL. He’s so good that he makes things a lot easier for the other defensive linemen playing next to him.
Dante Fowler Jr. played one full season next to Donald in 2019 and notched a career-high 11.5 sacks. Thanks to that season, Fowler got a big payday from the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason. He rewarded them with just three sacks in 2020. It’s hard to not see the parallels between Fowler and Floyd. Both men were top-10 draft picks who failed to make a big impact with their first teams. They ended up with the Rams and saw their numbers go up. That’s not a coincidence. Donald is so dominant that he demands a ton of attention. That opens things up for defensive ends. The Raiders get no push from their interior defensive linemen so Floyd wouldn’t be getting extra help. Las Vegas shouldn’t consider signing him unless the price is really low.
Raiders May Have to Wait Until the Draft to Address Pass Rush
Good pass rushers are hard to come by and when they do, they cost a lot of money. The Raiders don’t have a lot of money to play with this offseason. They could create a decent chunk of cap space but it remains to be seen if they’d be willing to spend all their money trying to sign a player like Leonard Williams.
The Raiders may end up having to wait until the draft to address the issue. This current draft class isn’t loaded with top-tier pass rushers but Las Vegas could target a guy like Gregory Rousseau out of Miami.