Contracts transfer with trades. Free agents do not.
Per Spotrac.com, the current salary for Floyd to play in 2023 and 2024 is $13.5 million plus a $2 million roster bonus. If a team trades for him, that is the salary that they will pay him in both seasons. Right now, that is just slightly more than Carolina Panthers OLB Shaq Thompson, an edge rusher who has never recorded more than 3.5 quarterback sacks in any given year.
It's less than Tampa Bay Buccaneers OLB Shaq Barrett, a player who has underperformed Floyd in the past three seasons. In fact, it's much less than Khalil Mack, Floyd's former teammate, who Floyd has seriously outperformed in the past three seasons. In short, the NFL pays a premium for a pass rusher who is consistently getting to the quarterback.
Better to trade for a known contract, than to negotiate from scratch
If Leonard Floyd were to hit the NFL Free Agency market, what might is contract look like? Well, if it is for a one-year deal, I would be shocked if any team could sign Floyd for under $20 million. If the contract is multi-year, and with guaranteed money, then the per year could come down, but the overall per year would be no cheaper than his current $16 million per year deal remaining on his contract with the LA Rams. In fact, It would likely look like a three-year deal, about $50 million, and half of that guaranteed, or $25 million.
To avoid negotiations and a possible bidding war, an NFL team can circumvent all of that with a token trade offer to the LA Rams to pry the guy from the Rams roster. Recall how the LA Rams traded a second-round pick to the Denver Broncos for a half-season rental of injured veteran Von Miller? The accompanying third-round pick was intended to compensate the Broncos for picking up Miller's expensive salary.
With that in mind, the LA Rams could and should expect anywhere from a fourth or fifth round pick from a potential trade partner, particularly in light of the fact that Floyd will play on a two-year severable contract that costs just $16 million a year for a player who is among one of the more productive pass rushers who is currently available. Now, which team needs the help? I can think of five teams who could and should be picking up the phones right now: