The Los Angeles Rams are facing a number of potential losses on defense that could threaten their ability to repeat their success in 2021. Free agents include free safety John Johnson, cornerback Troy Hill, restricted free agent Darious Williams and defensive end Morgan Fox, while Brandon Staley surveys the interview requests at his disposal.
But lurking in the shadows as perhaps the biggest loss could be outside linebacker Leonard Floyd.
John Kuhn was a three-time Pro Bowl fullback who played in the NFL from 2006-2017 and this week on the Pardon My Take podcast, he made an interesting observation about why the Chicago Bears haven’t been as effective on defense this season. The Bears were fourth in points allowed in 2019, ranking in the top-10 against both the pass and the run. This season, they ranked 14th in points allowed and were average in both phases. One loss they had was free agent linebacker Leonard Floyd, but instead they signed former Rams defensive end Robert Quinn to a five-year, $70 million contract.
Kuhn sees that as Chicago’s main downfall on defense.
“The trade that they had with, ya know, swapping defensive end for defensive end with Leonard Floyd and (Robert) Quinn, it’s just not worked in their favor. That seems to have hurt Khalil Mack.”
Quinn struggled massively in 2020, recording two sacks and six quarterback hits.
Floyd signed a one-year contract with the Rams in 2020 and he hits free agency with a career-high 10.5 sacks on his resume this season. He also had 55 tackles, 19 quarterback hits, 11 tackles for a loss. Los Angeles made a number of changes on defense that were not Floyd, including hiring Staley as defensive coordinator, but we can’t discount Floyd’s potential impact in the Rams becoming the top-ranked defense in the league.
If the Rams lose Floyd, who do they get to replace him?
If the Rams don’t lose Floyd, can they also afford to keep Johnson?
If the Rams lose Floyd, will the defense suffer the same fate as the Bears?
Which pass rusher is the next Robert Quinn mistake?