After one season with the division-rival Dolphins, Kyle Van Noy is heading back to Foxborough. The Patriots are signing the soon-to-be 30-year-old linebacker, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter). Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network says that it will be a two-year pact worth up to $13.2MM (Twitter link).
A second-round pick of the Lions in 2014, Van Noy saw very little playing time until he was traded to the Pats in 2016. From 2017-19, the BYU product served as a full-time starter for New England and became a well-respected leader in the team’s locker room.
In his walk year in 2019, Van Noy had 56 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles as an integral part of a Patriots defense that was putting up historic numbers for much of that season. He parlayed that success into a four-year, $51MM contract with the Dolphins one year and one day ago, but he did not make it to a second season in South Beach. After failing to find a trade partner — not surprising given that Van Noy was due a $12.75MM salary in 2021 — Miami cut him last week.
Pro Football Focus’ metrics considered Van Noy the 26th-best linebacker out of 83 qualifiers in 2020, and his highest score came in the pass rush category. While he has never posted double-digit sacks, he can make opposing QBs uncomfortable, and he is good enough against the run to be a solid three-down ‘backer. His locker room presence is an added benefit, and New England can deploy him in a variety of roles.
The Patriots, of course, have stolen headlines over the legal tampering period and into the first day of the new league year, putting their ample amount of cap space to work by acquiring high-profile talents on both sides of the ball. It can certainly be argued that the team overpaid for a couple of those players, but Bill Belichick & Co. are clearly taking their absence from the playoffs in 2020 as a personal affront. Van Noy, along with fellow new additions Matt Judon and Davon Godchaux, should be a big boost to the club’s front seven.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.