LA Rams purge continues, Floyd joins Wagner in free agency
Fact is often stranger than fiction. If I had the foresight to write an article listing both All-Pro ILB Bobby Wagner and leading quarterback sacker Leonard Floyd being cut from the LA Rams roster this year before the 2023 NFL season, I can only imagine the blowback that article would have received. And yet, here we are.
To me, the enigma ove the matter is not that the LA Rams have opted to move on from veterans, that happens in the NFL. And it's not so much that the Rams are suddenly taking what I believe to be more extreme measures to free up salary cap space, because the NFL headlines are full of news about productive players become cap casualties.
The problem that I have is a more fundamental question: How is it that a player like QB Carson Wentz can be traded multiple times with questionable productivity, and the LA Rams cannot lure anything in return for either Bobby Wagner or Leonard Floyd? For the life of me, the fact that an NFL contender had the opportunity to avoid any negotiation with a free agent, and simply offer the Rams a token draft pick to ensure that they acquire the rights to key productive veterans is beyond me.
Rams purge impacts locker room too
That has led to the LA Rams releasing their best OLB from the past three seasons unceremoniously. That seems to be a bit anti-climatic, as Floyd has been a solid, if not elite, contributor to a Rams defense that has struggled to find its way at times.
Okay, so how good was he? Leonard Floyd delivered 29 quarterback sacks and 184 tackles over the past three seasons. But moreso than that, he did anything and everything that the LA Rams asked of him. The truth is that despite the intense scrutiny over Floyd's performance, he was one of the Rams' most consistent players on defense and a leader in the locker room.
Yes, the guy played injured in both 2021 and 2022. But he played. In 2021, he was injured mid-season, and continued to play while injured throughout the 2021 NFL season and the postseason. He had ankle surgery in the abbreviated offseason, which led to diminished productivity until he was finally able to rest and heal up during the Rams BYE week.
Without injury, Floyd is a 12-16 QB sack per season type of player, which is good enough to flirt with the NFL's Top-5, and land firmly among the Top-10 pass rushers in a season. Of course, some will applaud the decision to move on from Floyd, as there has not been much longevity with the Rams roster at any position whose name is not Aaron Donald.
Of course, grading the LA Rams offseason requires seeing both the additions and subtractions to form a valid assessment. But I am a bit disheartened at the news of Floyd's release. Yes, I knew it was coming. But I see no path to improving the roster by this action.
The NFL Free Agency market and the corresponding NFL tampering period is now just hours away. The Rams front office has a lot of work to do to reassemble a competitive Rams roster. Right now, the Rams seem be be making more work for themselves.