Ryan Pace said that signing Robert Quinn was "not necessarily a knock on Leonard [Floyd]," and though the optics may scream otherwise, the Bears' GM was adamant that the moves weren't as directly correlated as they looked.
"Look, Leonard’s had some very good years here. He’s a key part of a top defense," he told reporters on Friday morning. "It’s just doing what we feel is best for our team ... but for us, it was just, hey, we’re constantly tweaking and trying to upgrade our roster and we feel like we’ve done that with our pass rush with Robert Quinn.
"I think you saw how quickly Leonard signed elsewhere, a pretty good contract. So we’re happy for him."
Only 24 hours after being cut by the Bears, Floyd signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Los Angeles Rams – a testament to the potential some NFL teams still see in him. While coaches in Chicago always praised his physical traits and abilities in other aspects of the game, Floyd never found a way to consistently get to the quarterback. Given the strength of Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan in pass coverage, Pace and the front office felt comfortable moving on from the former ninth overall pick (before having to pick up a $13 million option), freeing them to make a move for one of the market's best pure pass rushers.
"... I think a strength of Leonard's was no doubt his coverage ability," Pace said. "We look at our inside linebackers room as a strength and I think the depth of that room is a strength as well ... Now, Quinn and Khalil, you want those guys rushing the quarterback as much as possible, but they are athletic enough to do different things on defense to just to keep it flexible."
Quinn comes to Chicago on the heels of his most productive season since 2014, and led the Cowboys in sacks (11.5). It's a number Quinn thinks he can get back to, even lined up next to the likes of Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks.
"Do I feel pressure? No, but that’s just my personal expectations," he said. "Regardless of who I’m playing beside, my personal expectation is double-digit. I’d say record-breaking sacks every year and record-breaking TFL’s every year. They’re just personal standards, regardless of who you’re playing along. Let me just say, the dogs that you get to play beside, that should definitely make it fun."