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Buffalo Bills 2024 free-agent analysis: DE Leonard Floyd

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By: Skarekrow

Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images

What level are the Bills looking to maintain or improve on in the coming year?

Free agency is coming. While that often means excitement over new additions, it can also mean the loss of significant contributors. With the Buffalo Bills in a less-than-ideal cap situation, we’re approaching our annual free-agent review a bit differently this year. While there’s always been an undertone of “this player may need to be replaced,” we’re going to be leaning way harder than simply into undertone on that aspect. For this upcoming season, let’s examine the following question:

How high was the bar set by…

Defensive end Leonard Floyd

Stats and whatnot

For defensive ends, we want impact stats. Sacks, hits, tackles for loss! How did Leonard Floyd do? Floyd had 10.5 sacks this season, 19 QB hits, and 9.0 TFLs. That tied his best season (2020) for sacks. It was tied for his second-highest QB hit number, and tied for third-highest TFLs as well.

In other words, it was one of Floyd’s best seasons statistically. Want the crazier news? He managed that barely playing over half the time in Buffalo, hitting 53.8% of playing time on the defense. He’s only had one season prior to that below 75% and that was his rookie year. The rookie year was still over 10% higher than 2023. His 2020 season, which may have the best volume numbers, saw him hit 89.5% — or almost 36% higher than he reached in Buffalo.

Now if you’re like Corey Giacovelli, you may point out that he started strong and then statistically fell off as the season progressed. That’s a fair point, which led me to do more digging (thanks Corey). Looking back at some potential factors, Von Miller returned to the lineup in early October and saw time ramp up a bit as the season went on. That likely changed things up a bit on the line. Also, Matt Milano, DaQuan Jones, and Tre’Davious White were all injured and lost for the season in October.

Let’s check some late-season film to see what we can see…

The Film

Play 1 — Punch

I’d like to be clear when highlighting this punch. I’m not highlighting exceptional power or technique. I do like Floyd’s hand skills overall (see below). I’m not overly impressed with his power (see below for that too). What made this a big win is the set up and timing. There was a tiny hesitation that set up the moment where the punch could be most effective, and it was definitely effective.

Play 2 — Getting big

This clip is all about presence on the field. Julian Hill (#89) is a touch bigger than Leonard Floyd and blindsides him (not to be confused with a blindside block). Floyd kept his balance and Hill was disrupted, essentially jamming his own route after bouncing off Floyd. Then Leonard Floyd took the advice we’ve all seen when confronting certain bears, and made himself big to ward off the apex predator known as “a completed pass.”

Play 3 — Stunt

I don’t want all of the clips to be highlights, so here we have one in which Floyd and Ed Oliver performed a stunt. It’s not a failure, but it’s also not the reason this was an interception.

The Final Straw

I really like Leonard Floyd. He brings a good skill set to the table and when his supporting cast isn’t decimated by injuries he can show up big. I’m going a bit sparse with GIFs lately due to time constraints, but in Floyd’s case I have a great shortcut. Here’s a link to my analysis of the man when Buffalo added him to the roster.

The 2023 season was Floyd’s eighth in the league. There’s no reason to think he’ll fall off a cliff, so I stand by my earlier opinion. I’d add that a second year in the same system (if the Bills can swing it), with some better luck on the injury front could be huge. The bar set by Floyd was pretty high and Buffalo may struggle to reach it again.

Originally posted on Buffalo Rumblings