If the Broncos elect to move on from Von Miller they could elect to pursue a premier edge rusher to replace him. While Bradley Chubb made the Pro Bowl, he also missed time in both of the last two seasons and the Broncos may not see Malik Reed as a starting caliber edge rusher.
One free agent who would make a ton of sense for the Fangio Broncos is a familiar face.
Leonard Floyd, Edge, Los Angeles Rams
Weight: 244 lbs.
Experience: 5 NFL Seasons
Floyd entered the league as 9th pick of the 2016 NFL Draft to the Chicago Bears. He was the “Jack of All Trades” and supposed to provide the Vic Fangio with the kind of versatile edge rusher who could hurry Aaron Rodgers, stuff Adrian Peterson, or cover Kyle Rudolph.
Over his four years with the Bears Floyd played in 54 games. Over that time he never blossomed into what most hoped he could become as a pass rusher, and he never topped the seven sacks he notched as a rookie. When given the opportunity Ryan Pace and the Bears did not utilize their fifth year option to retain Floyd and when his time in the Windy City came to a close he chose to sign a one-year contract to reunite with Brandon Staley.
Surrounded by players like Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey in the system he was drafted for, Floyd produced a career season in 2020. He finished with 48 individual pressures, 10.5 sacks, 19 QB hits, and a forced fumble as the Rams’ defense carried them to the divisional round of the playoffs.
Watch the Rams’ LB group.— Matt Ogle (@CoachMattOgle) February 18, 2021
This is preparation, communication, and execution.
Beautiful team defense. Great play by Leonard Floyd pic.twitter.com/gOC9KCILl9
Why it makes sense
There is no question Leonard Floyd fits the Fangio defense and specifically Malik Reed’s role in the Broncos scheme as he was drafted in the first round for it. He’s a capable space player who’s movement skills belie a 6’6” 240 lb. man. He’s played more than 100 coverage snaps each of the last three seasons per Pro Football Focus charting and routinely dropped into zones during Fangio’s stint as his defensive coordinator.
Each year Floyd has played in the NFL he’s generated 30 or more individual pass pressures per Sports Info Solutions’ charting. So while Floyd didn’t sack a ton of quarterbacks during his time with the Bears, he was a useful pass rusher. Fangio would have little trouble weaponizing the threat Floyd presents off the edge on simulated pressures, and he could become a top tier second banana to Bradley Chubb.
Why it doesn’t make sense
Cost relative to expected production is the big issue. Floyd is coming off a career year after playing in arguably the best situation for an edge rusher in the league. A year ago around this time the Atlanta Falcons signed Dante Fowler after his own career season and now his upcoming $18,541,666 cap hit looks like an albatross. The way Aaron Donald draws attention from opposing lines creates an inordinate amount of easy opportunities for a secondary rusher to clean up, so it should come as no surprise PFF considered almost half of Floyd’s pressures “unblocked” or “cleanup” pressures.
I believe I would like Leonard Floyd if George Paton tries to replace Von Miller. His resume suggests the Broncos would a solid run defender, pass rusher, and capable in coverage. With him under contract Fangio could even expand his joker package for Bradley Chubb as Floyd and Reed could play on the outsides, both capable of dropping or rushing.
My biggest issue with Floyd is going to be what I assume his market will look like. NFL teams are starved for pass rushers and so every year there’s funny money thrown around. Floyd’s draft pedigree and 10 sack season beside Aaron Donald will sucker a team into paying him to lead their pass rush, even if he’s an ideal number two as a versatile chess piece. He’s a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none.
Should the Broncos replace Von Miller with Leonard Floyd?
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