The Houston Texans must look for some players to fill in the edge rusher spot vacated by the release of J.J. Watt in February, and a free agent who could be a target is Leonard Floyd, who is a former first round pick, and an outside linebacker.
Floyd was selected ninth overall in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, and since then the 28-year old has played four season with the Bears, and one season with the Los Angeles Rams, which was the team he played for during the 2020 season.
Floyd made $10 million this past season in Los Angeles for his base salary, plus he also had an addition $5 million go his way for his signing bonus. The current free agent Floyd is coming off a season where he made all 16 starts, totaling 10.5 sacks (a career-high), plus 31 solo tackles, 11 tackles for loss, one pass defensed, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and 19 QB hits.
That’s not a bad season for Floyd who in his previous four seasons (2016-19) had a combined 18.5 sacks while a member of the Bears. In his five seasons combined in the NFL, Floyd has played in 70 regular season games (all starts), with 29 sacks, one touchdown, 139 solo tackles, 37 tackles for loss, and 63 quarterback hits.
One of the issues for Floyd is he hasn’t had the best amount of sacks per season in five seasons, as last season was not only his career-high, but it was his first double-digit sack season of his career as well.
Houston Texans: Can Leonard Floyd have another 10-sack season?
If the Houston Texans were to sign Leonard Floyd, he would need to be more consistent to having at least 10 sacks in a season, and not between three to eight sacks in a season like what he accomplished in his first four seasons. The Texans will need a pass rusher in 2021 to help the Texans improve in that aspect of their game, and Floyd could be that player.
Floyd could be an improvement compared to some of the outside linebacker play the Texans had in 2020, and with Love Smith as his defensive coordinator, this could be a start of something solid for Floyd. Last season in his first year away from Chicago, Floyd did churn out the most sacks, tackles for loss, and QB hits in his career for a season, so maybe he can achieve that feat again.
That said, the Los Angeles defense is much better than the one the Houston Texans put on the field last season. Floyd would have more of a target on him if playing for the Texans, rather than with the Rams, but the front office has to start somewhere revamping the defense and Floyd would be a nice player to add to the roster.
With the way things are going so far in 2021 the idea of Floyd joining the Texans isn’t that far-fetched. Michael Ginnitti of spotrac.com had the following to say when he predicted that Floyd might end up with the Texans this offseason in a recent article:
"“Floyd’s career is on a Jadeveon Clowney path, where he’s no longer trusted to be a double digit sack rusher, but an above average, versatile edge defender – a classification that will still pay just fine.”"
The article also stated the Houston Texans could sign Leonard Floyd to a four-year, $52 million deal as the projection for the contract.
In all honestly, the Houston Texans should feel grateful if they were able to sign a player like Floyd, especially if he could have a 10-plus sack season like he did with the Rams in 2020. The only issue is if the Texans front office would be smart enough to put enough talented players around him to repair what was a lackluster defense last season.
Signing Leonard Floyd would be a big deal for Houston. Time will tell if Houston starts to rebuild their defense, and add a player who still has potential like Floyd, if not the defense will struggle once again like they did this past season.