LA Rams re-signing OLB Leonard Floyd puts SB in sights
By Bret Stuter
Floyd’s return brightens 2021 outlook
The LA Rams pattern of restocking the outside linebacker position at two players at a time for each of the past several years was.. nightmarish. And somehow, the Rams managed to find a way around that challenge. But that wouldn’t last, and couldn’t last. Ultimately, the market for pass rushers would heat up as it has in the 2021 free agency market.
The LA Rams learned the not-so-painful lesson in 2020 that edge rushers do not show up the year that they get off of the bus. While there is still a huge upside for OLB Terrell Lewis, the fact is that he never showed up as hoped for in 2020. In fact, if not for the arrival of Floyd, those early games for the Rams would have been much less impressive.
The Rams now have five outside linebackers (including 2020 signed Justin Hollins). That is pretty important, as it converts a day two prospect who must show up and deliver, into a day-three prospect who can develop and play when he has earned that right to step onto the football field. And now, with Floyd back, the Rams defense can do exactly that.
Floyd was an iron man for the Rams defense. He was on the field for 916 defensive snaps, good enough for 90 percent of the action. In fact, it wasn’t until the month of December 2020 that the team began to lighten his workload in anticipation of the upcoming NFL Playoffs. That lessening burden also coincided with Floyd’s teammates getting healthy and taking on a larger role on the defense.
Some may feel that Floyd was overpaid. But if you consider that the Rams offseason was a circus, and still Floyd stepped up in such a big way, you realize that maybe he is worth the investment.
Imagine the alternative. The market for outside linebackers is going through the roof. If Samson Ebukam can sign for $6 million per year, what chance did the Rams have of finding the bargain at the position? It’s obvious that Leonard Floyd fits what the Rams want to do on defense, and that the Rams fit what Leonard Floyd wants to do in his NFL career.
Now, the Rams can focus their six draft picks at depth, not need. That may not seem like a big deal today, but when the 2021 NFL Draft arrives, it will be a much brighter and enjoyable scenario. And with a dominant Floyd coming off the edge, the Rams are taking square aim at a Super Bowl run in 2021.