The Chicago Bears have a need at edge rusher, and Leonard Floyd happened to be one of the best rushers on the market. Considering the team has the most cap space as we stand, it appears that if they wanted Floyd, they could have signed him.
Why Chicago Bears did not show interest in Leonard Floyd
When Floyd signed with the Buffalo Bills, an easy thought could have been that he took lesser money to go to a contender. However, it is just as easy to assume that the Bears actually did not have interest.
While teams play nickel so much that base is not important to your average fan, the coaching staffs and front offices still view specific talents for specific schemes. For instance, Leonard Floyd is still better as a 3-4 rusher than a 4-3 end. That is because he is better playing on his feet, and also moving off of the ball.
This allows him to confuse pass blockers and gives him free rush lanes on stunts, and twists, as well as delayed blitzes. Beyond that, he brings value to the coverage unit as well. However, 4-3 defenders are much bigger, and longer, and play with their hands in the dirt. They do not move around as much and are more stout against the run. It is a different ask for each scheme.
When the Chicago Bears had Vic Fangio and drafted Leonard Floyd, they ran a 3-4 base, but Matt Eberflus runs a 4-3. It is also clear that Eberflus values specific edge rushers who do not rely on speed, but more power to push the pocket. Eberflus relies on faster interior players to push the pocket out, and the then long-armed edge rushers contain and clean things up.
This is not what Leonard Floyd does. It is clear based on his body type, as Floyd weighs just 245 pounds. On the flip side, Trevis Gipson weighs 263 pounds, and Robinson weighed 253 pounds last year, but said he put on 10-15 before season two.
Then, the team signed DeMarcus Walker, and Rasheem Green. Both of them are listed at 280 pounds. It is clear that Eberflus is looking for something completely different than Floyd in his edge rusher body type.
Beyond that, none of the edge rushers Chicago has drop into coverage. In his rookie season, with a different coaching staff, Trevis Gipson dropped into coverage 4.7% of the time. Last year, with Eberflus that number was down to 2.3%.
Dominique Robinson only dropped into coverage 2.6% of his snaps. Meanwhile, Rasheem Green has 60 snaps in his career in coverage, just 2.2%, and DeMarcus Walker has six snaps in coverage over his entire career.
On the flip side, Leonard Floyd has 687 snaps in coverage, and 70 came last year. His career rate is 11.5% and his ratel last season was 8.5%. Even when he rushed more and dropped less, he was dropping into coverage about four times as often as Eberflus will want his lineman to.
Fans see the top edge rusher on a free agent list and see the Chicago Bears need an edge rusher, and think it is a perfect marriage. However, the small details such as fit, usage and role in the defense made it obvious that Leonard Floyd was never going to come back to the Bears. His skill set as an edge rusher does not fit with the Bears want their edge rushers to do.