One of the more controversial moves for the Los Angeles Rams this offseason was cutting edge rusher Leonard Floyd. Floyd led the Rams in sacks in 2022 and has been a staple on the edge since he joined the team as a free agent in 2020.
Floyd’s release signaled the Rams’ plan to look ahead to 2024. They saved just $3M this year by cutting Floyd while eating nearly $19M in dead cap. However, they saved $22.5M in 2024 by cutting Floyd this offseason.
It’s late May and Floyd remains unsigned by another team which should show what the rest of the league thinks about him. He’s clearly not seen as the premier pass rusher that he was viewed as with the Rams.
In three years with the Rams, Floyd had nine, 9.5, and 10.5 sacks. Those aren’t bad numbers by any means and it’s possible that Floyd is missed this season as the Rams work in rookies. Still, it’s worth noting a few things as well.
Dante Fowler Jr. had 11.5 sacks in 2019 before signing with the Atlanta Falcons in free agency. Fowler had three sacks the next year and has 13.5 sacks in the three seasons combined since leaving the Rams.
Secondly, Floyd never ranked inside the top-15 among edge rushers in pressures. His 45 pressures in 2020 ranked 27th. He improved in 2021 with 58 pressures which ranked 16th, but finished 35th this past season with 54 total pressures.
The same can be said about his pass rush win-rate and pressure-rate. Floyd only ranked inside the top-20 in pass rush win-rate in 2021 when he ranked 17th with a 16 percent win-rate. In 2020 and 2022, he finished 49th and 27th at 11 and 14.4 percent. In terms of pressure rate, he never ranked inside the top-25. His best year once again came in 2021 when his 7.1 percent pressure rate ranked 26th among edge rushers.
While he was in Los Angeles, Floyd was applauded for his run defense. PFF Grades aren’t the end all, be all. With that said, he ranked 16th as a run defender in 2020 and then just 22nd and 39th the last two years. His run defense grade in 2022 was just a 58.3. Additionally, Floyd’s stop percentage was just 3.4 percent. That ranked 45th among edge rushers last season. Stop percentage determines the percentage of a player’s run defense snaps where he was responsible for a stop. In 2021, he ranked 38th in this stat and in 2020 he was 32nd.
There has been some speculation on whether or not the Rams should bring back Floyd. Re-signing Floyd at this point would defeat the purpose for cutting him in the first place. If the idea was that he was overpaid, then there’s no reason to bring him back. The Rams are already paying Floyd $19M not to play for them. If they were were re-sign Floyd at this point in the offseason, they likely would be paying him more than had they not cut him in the first place.
Floyd made some big plays in his three seasons with the Rams. They likely don’t win the Super Bowl in 2021 without him. However, the Aaron Donald affect is real and the Rams were likely overpaying Floyd for the production that they were actually getting in return. This made him a perfect casualty as the Rams look to reset their cap. A rookie like Byron Young won’t necessarily need to play like a first-round pick to give the Rams similar production.
Hopefully Floyd does find a team soon. Between Weeks 12-18, he did rank fifth in the NFL is pressures among edge rushers with 12 and that was without Donald. Still, he ranked only 12th in pressure-rate and pass rush win-rate during this period. Floyd deserves a spot on a roster and is likely a better fit as a complimentary player. Another team should be able to find value in Floyd even if that team isn’t the Rams.