The Rams’ Leonard Floyd is somewhat new to Los Angeles, so we’ll cut him some slack.
“I believe here in L.A.,” Floyd said, “I’m going to get there.”
Longtime Angelenos know getting anyway is a tall task when considering the region’s soul-crushing traffic. But Floyd’s vehicle is his stellar play, and it could lead to a rich contract.
Maybe not with the Rams, but someone will pay the freight considering Floyd’s impressive haul this season.
For the first time, Floyd was named the NFC defensive player of the week, and it was declared minus a request for a recount. With a dominant performance in the Rams’ 23-16 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, no one is squawking about Floyd’s selection.
Despite having an elusive Russell Wilson at quarterback, Seattle needed a big jolt of caffeine to keep Floyd from the backfield and it failed miserably.
Floyd, an outside linebacker, had a career-high three of the Rams’ six sacks. He also recovered a fumble, had five tackles, two tackles for losses and he hit Wilson five times.
“We’re looking forward to going to Tampa, man, and just building off this,’’ Floyd told reporters.
Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady awaits on Monday and compared to the nimble Wilson, it will be like chasing a goat (and a GOAT) instead of a cheetah. Floyd is ready as he plays for what is really up next for him: a multi-year pact.
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Floyd had multiple options in the offseason after being cut loose by the Chicago Bears. He chose the Rams after their pitch included him working again with defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, a former Bears assistant, and the windfall that came edge-rusher Dante Fowler’s way.
Fowler’s situation was similar to Floyd’s, who agreed to a one-year, $10 million proposal with the Rams. Both came to L.A. after being top-1o overall picks with their original teams.
Fowler exited the Jacksonville Jaguars when they peddled him to L.A. midway through the 2018 season, the last year of his contract. The Rams then offered Fowler a one-year, $12 million deal in 2019 that he could potentially pivot into a long-term deal if he produced.
When Fowler notched a career-high 11.5 sacks, or only 4.5 fewer than in his previous four seasons combined, a cash register went chi-ching.
Fowler turned that performance into a three-year, $45 million deal from the Atlanta Falcons, which included a $29 million guarantee.
Floyd is following that same road, nimbly avoiding the potholes he encounters en route to quarterbacks. His seven sacks this season match a career-high and Floyd still has seven games to increase that amount.
“I think I bring versatility, a guy that can do it all,’’ said Floyd, a fifth-year pro. “Anything the defense needs me to do, set the edge on the run, rush the passer and help out in coverage.’’
Floyd gets aid in reaching quarterbacks with blocking schemes set on containing Rams All-Pro tackle Aaron Donald. But there’s no ducking Floyd’s impact, regardless of those racing him to the pocket.
When the season ends, some team — not likely the Rams — will reach deep into its pockets to secure Floyd after he bet on himself.
Floyd will embrace a rich deal, but only after the Rams supplied a map on how to reach his destination. It’ll be a landing spot which will be accompanied by a considerable payday.