Bears Happy With Floyd's Play Despite Modest Stats

Leonard Floyd had three sacks in 16 games in 2019.

Chris Emma
January 10, 2020 - 11:15 am

(670 The Score) In 2020, the Bears are set to pay outside linebacker Leonard Floyd north of $13 million in base salary, as the fifth-year option they exercised mandates.

It's a salary that nears the price tag of star teammate Khalil Mack and a figure that will make Floyd one of the highest-paid pass rushers in the game. That payday will also come after a 2019 season for Floyd in which he recorded only three sacks in 16 games.

Despite Floyd's modest production on the stat sheet, general manager Ryan Pace remains pleased with what Floyd has brought to the defense.

"We're happy with Leonard," Pace said at a season-ending press conference on Dec. 31. "I know the stats don't always say that. Leonard does a lot of things that go a little undervalued. The versatility he provides, things he can do in coverage. Not a lot of outside linebackers that can provide the versatility he provides.

"Would we like more production with him? Yeah. Would he like that? Yeah. There's a lot of things he does that we like."

Floyd, 27, was drafted ninth overall by the Bears in 2016. Pace saw a lanky linebacker out of Georgia whom he felt could develop into a tenacious pass rusher in the NFL if Floyd could add size to his 6-foot-5 frame.

Floyd recorded seven sacks during a 12-game, injury-shortened rookie season in 2016, then followed it with 4.5 sacks over 10 games in 2017. But in consecutive 16-game seasons the last two years, Floyd's production has dropped. He had four sacks in 2018 before his three this past season.

When Pace and the Bears picked up Floyd's fifth-year option ahead of the 2019 offseason, it was with the belief that he was trending toward becoming an elite player.

Is Floyd's salary in 2020 a burden for the Bears?

"We're never going to get into those things," Pace said. "We like Leonard, glad he's here. Like a lot of our players, does he want to play better? Yeah. Can he play better? Yeah. We'll see going forward."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.