What makes Leonard Floyd the perfect Carolina Panthers free-agent fit in 2023?

Leonard Floyd
Leonard Floyd / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

What makes Leonard Floyd the perfect Carolina Panthers fit if those in power opt to bolster their pass-rushing options before the 2023 season?

Even though the Carolina Panthers are giving those already on the depth chart and third-round pick D.J. Johnson a chance to become the edge rushing option opposite Brian Burns in 2023, nobody could say with any great confidence any option could provide the level of consistency needed. Marquis Haynes Sr. is the most intriguing of all possibilities, but he's rarely assumed starting responsibilities and might be best suited to a core rotational role based on his career to date.

Everyone is getting a fair shake under defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero as the Panthers switch to a 3-4 base defense. But if the coaching staff doesn't like the way things are going, they have an abundance of salary cap space to make additional moves should they wish.

Carolina currently has $27.24 million in spare financial resources. They need to sign a few more of their draft class and leave some back for the campaign, but one couldn't dismiss the prospect of one or two immediate contributors being acquired to ensure the Panthers are ready to hit the ground running under Frank Reich.

Carolina Panthers signing Leonard Floyd makes too much sense

The Panthers cannot afford their pass rush to become a weak link next season. Letting Haason Reddick walk was one of the worst decisions in franchise history and something that's been sorely felt.

Among the most enticing targets remaining on the market is Leonard Floyd. The player enjoyed a prolific spell with the Los Angeles Rams, has experience working on 3-4 defenses, and boasts a previous connection to Evero from their time working together in the California sunshine.

This almost makes too much sense, so why the Panthers haven't explored it in great detail as yet remains a mystery. Something that was further highlighted by former NFL general manager Rick Spielman recently via The 33rd Team.

"They’re moving to a 3-4 defense under new DC Ejiro Evero, which means both edge rushers have to be a little more undersized and have the quickness to get up the field. They have that in Brian Burns, but Yetur Gross-Matos does not fit that 3-4 edge rusher role. He’s more of a five-technique, so they have to go out and get another edge rusher to pair with Burns. The Panthers have a solid defense already. Plus, they’ve got an offense with a lot of young players that will help them grow. But their defense will have to keep them in games early. In my opinion, Floyd is the best fit for their defensive scheme and team needs."

Rick Spielman via The 33rd Team

Having people who've been around winning franchises before always helps. Floyd contributed significantly to the Rams securing a Super Bowl after the 2021 campaign and showed no signs of slowing down last season en route to nine sacks, ten tackles for loss, 22 quarterback hits, and 31 pressures from 86 percent of the team's defensive snaps.

This would be invaluable for Carolina's up-and-coming unit. Whether it's from a rotational role or as a starter, Floyd's ability to produce in the biggest moments over a consistent period is something that cannot be said of most pass-rushers available to the Panthers, so it'll be interesting to see how this dynamic evolves further as the summer progresses.

The Panthers won't want to miss out entirely. All it'll take is an injury somewhere else to see Floyd get a call, so there is a level of urgency if Carolina does identify the former Georgia standout as a player of interest.

Time will tell, I guess. But the benefits of bringing Floyd into the fold are there for all to see.