Chicago Bears OLB Leonard Floyd reportedly drawing interest on trade market
Teams are calling about potentially acquiring Chicago Bears OLB Leonard Floyd ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, according to FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer.
Floyd, whom the Chicago Bears traded up to draft ninth overall in 2016, has yet to generate a sack this season as he’s played through a broken hand sustained in the preseason. But after being limited by injuries to 22 combined starts in his first two seasons, Floyd battled with a club on his hand while starting the first six games and mostly playing well in coverage and against the run.
It seems likely that Bears GM Ryan Pace would have to be blown away in order to trade away the first defender he drafted, particularly with Khalil Mack missing the first game of his career Sunday because of an ankle injury and Sam Acho already on injured reserve. Even prior to Glazer’s report, the spotlight on Floyd was intensified Sunday with the Bears looking to halt a two-game slide and struggling to rush the passer with Mack not resembling the Defensive Player of September.
The Bears must decide by May whether to pick up the 26-year-old Floyd’s fifth-year team option for 2020 at an approximate cost of $12.5 million. He’s been slowed by a number of injuries, including a concussion that ended his first season prematurely and a strained MCL and PCL last December that required season-ending surgery. Floyd has provided brief flashes of the unique speed, bend and burst that prompted Pace to move up two spots to draft the Georgia product to be one of the centerpieces of Vic Fangio’s 3-4 defense.
But Floyd only has 11.5 sacks and six passes defensed in his first 28 starts, before the Bears dramatically altered their OLB corps and defense with the blockbuster acquisition of Mack. The thought was that Mack and Floyd would combine to form one of the NFL’s best bookend pairings, but Mack’s dominant September obscured Floyd’s lack of a pass rush.
Yet over the past two weeks, when Mack was virtually a nonfactor, Floyd’s quiet performances have been increasingly scrutinized, making the timing of this report interesting. On one hand, NFL teams will always pay a premium for pass-rush talent (just look at what the Bears parted with for Mack). On the other hand, Floyd remains very much an unproven commodity, albeit one still boasting a high ceiling and reasonable cap hits of $4.3 million and $5 million this season and next.
The Bears likely wouldn’t improve this season by dealing Floyd, so a move would likely be driven by a desire to recoup some of the future draft capital lost in the Mack and Anthony Miller trades. And with Chicago still in contention, it would likely decide that hanging onto Floyd makes more sense than selling low on his services.
Glazer mentioned the Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers and New York Jets among the teams possibly pursuing pass-rush reinforcements before Tuesday’s trade deadline. In addition to Floyd, Jacksonville Jaguars DE Dante Fowler and Houston Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney are reportedly drawing interest.
Last week we scanned the potential trade market relative to the Bears, mentioning Jordan Howard, Kevin White, Nick Kwiatkoski and Jonathan Bullard as names to keep an eye on. However, we also mentioned that the Bears likely wouldn’t be active because of their lack of draft capital and major needs.