This was supposed to be the season that Bears outside linebacker Leonard Floyd finally lived up to his 2016 NFL Draft expectations. Remember those? Floyd was supposed to be Chicago's version of Von Miller in then-coach John Fox's defense. He was supposed to bring elite pass-rushing upside to a defense that was desperate to get after the quarterback.
Instead, Floyd has settled in as a well-rounded starting linebacker who's better in coverage and against the run than he is at creating fear in opposing quarterbacks.
An argument can be made that Floyd's failure to develop into a double-digit sack guy is what led GM Ryan Pace to pull the trigger on the Khalil Mack trade prior to the 2018 season. In a weird way, it's the best thing Floyd's done as a Bear.
But as is often the case when a premier player like Mack is added to a roster, expectations for his teammates are elevated. How can they not be? With all the attention opposing offensive lines pay to Mack, a player with as much alleged talent as Floyd should be able to capitalize on the favorable one-on-one situations he'd see.
Unfortunately, that hasn't happened for Floyd in the two seasons playing opposite Mack. In fact, 2019 was his worst as a pass-rusher; he managed just three sacks despite playing all 16 games.
Floyd hasn't been a complete bust for the Bears, however. He was the ninth-highest graded defender on the team this season, per Pro Football Focus, with a 69.8 season mark. It was the best PFF grade of his career even though his impact wasn't all that noticeable on gamedays.
Is Floyd a serviceable starter? The answer is an obvious yes. But serviceable starters don't get paid more than $13 million per year, and that's what Floyd's due in 2020 if the Bears keep their word and pick up his fifth-year option. Since Floyd remained healthy in 2019, Pace can rescind the fifth-year option if he so chooses. And with the Bears already facing salary-cap challenges, keeping that $13 million off the books makes a lot of sense.
The Bears could've done a lot worse than Floyd in 2019, but it became painfully obvious by midseason that Mack needed someone to step up as the Robin to his Batman. It was Floyd's responsibility to be that guy, and he failed.
It would come as no surprise if we've seen the last of Floyd as a starter on the Bears' defense.