Leonard Floyd may not have to go far to find best fit in free agency

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Cameron DaSilva
·3 min read
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The start of free agency is less than a month away and while negotiations between players and other teams can’t take place until March 15, pending free agents have surely begun to evaluate potential landing spots for the 2021 season. Leonard Floyd will be a free agent for the second straight year and while the Rams may not have the funds to re-sign him, he won’t have to look far for a potentially great fit.

The Chargers, who share SoFi Stadium with the Rams, have the cap space, the positional need and the coaching staff to have a shot at landing Floyd next month. It’s a connection many fans and analysts have made since Brandon Staley left the Rams to become the Chargers’ head coach.

Floyd was coached by Staley in Chicago and followed him to Los Angeles as a free agent last year, a move that paid major dividends for the pass rusher. Floyd enjoyed a breakout season in 2020 with a career-high 10.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and 19 QB hits. It’s no coincidence that it happened on the same defense as Aaron Donald, but Floyd won plenty of reps himself, too.

Floyd would probably be happy to play for Staley again after the success he had last season, which makes this an obvious fit. But the Chargers are also well-positioned financially to make a run at Floyd. With an estimated $23.8 million in cap space, the Chargers are among the top 10 teams in spending money this offseason.

Floyd will be one of the top edge rushers on the market and teams could be bidding for his services when free agency opens. The Chargers having an abundance of cash gives them a big edge over a team like the Rams.

As for Floyd’s fit with the Chargers, it also makes plenty of sense. They could use a quality edge rusher opposite Joey Bosa with Melvin Ingram also hitting free agency. Here’s what Gil Brandt of NFL.com wrote about Floyd being a good match for the Chargers.

The Chargers plucked their new head coach, Brandon Staley, from the Rams’ organization, and they should keep raiding the other Los Angeles organization for talent by signing away Floyd, who enjoyed his best professional season to date with Staley as his defensive coordinator in 2020. The former Bears first-round pick — who I ranked as the 12th-best player coming out of college in 2016 — broke out with the Rams, logging 10.5 sacks, 19 QB hits and 55 tackles. Melvin Ingram, who is turning 32 in April, is also headed for free agency, and replacing him with Floyd would nicely upgrade the pass-rushing spot opposite Joey Bosa.

The other added benefit, of course, is that Floyd won’t have to move very far, if at all, by signing with the Chargers. He would continue playing his home games at SoFi Stadium and the Chargers’ headquarters aren’t too far from the Rams’ in Thousand Oaks.

If he enjoyed his one season in Los Angeles, he probably wouldn’t mind staying in sunny Southern California for another few years if the Chargers were to sign him as a free agent. When the market opens on March 17, don’t be surprised at all if Floyd follows Staley once again and joins the Chargers in free agency.