Kyle Van Noy

AFC Notes: Cushing, McCown, Pats

The latest from around the AFC:

  • Texans linebacker Brian Cushing earned the second PED suspension of his career Wednesday, and while he appealed the previous ban in 2010, he’s not going to fight the punishment this time. “It is with the deepest remorse, he humbly apologizes to his fans, teammates and coaches,” Cushing’s attorney, Harvey Steinberg, said. “After consulting with his attorney and his agent he felt rather than dragging the appellate process out, this would be the best way to proceed.” Cushing will sit out the Texans’ next 10 games, which means the earliest he’ll see the field again is Dec. 3 in Tennessee.
  • The roster bonuses in quarterback Josh McCown‘s contract with the Jets could make it difficult for him to keep the starting job as the season progresses, ESPN’s Adam Schefter notes. Already on a fully guaranteed $6MM salary, McCown will earn $125K for each game he starts in 2017. Given that the Jets are more likely to contend for the first overall pick in the 2018 draft than a playoff spot this season, McCown might not be long for the No. 1 role. Not only would the Jets save money by benching McCown, but they’d get a chance to evaluate one or both of their young signal-callers, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty.
  • Factoring in this season, linebacker Kyle Van Noy‘s two-year extension with the Patriots amounts to a three-year, $12.87MM contract, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. The deal comes with $5.5MM in guarantees, including a $3.5MM signing bonus and a fully guaranteed $2MM salary for 2018. It also features a reporting bonus ($100K) and two workout bonuses (one for $7,095, another for $25K) in 2017 and a $100K roster bonus in both 2018 and ’19.
  • The Raiders are nearing an extension with one of their top players.

Patriots, LB Kyle Van Noy Reach Extension

The Patriots are have reached a two-year extension with linebacker Kyle Van Noy, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). Van Noy is now under New England control through 2019."<strong

Van Noy, a former second-round pick, was traded (along with a seventh-round choice) from the Lions to the Patriots midway through the 2016 season in a deal that cost New England a sixth-rounder. In seven games with the Pats, Van Noy made two starts and posted 27 tackles, one sack, and one interception. Van Noy played on 253 defensive snaps for New England, and also chipped in on special teams (58 snaps).

Because Van Noy only had one year remaining on his contract, his extension will necessarily increase his 2017 cap charge. Van Noy is scheduled to earn a base salary of roughly $990K this season.

Now in his age-26 campaign, Van Noy will continue to serve in the Patriots’ second level alongside fellow linebackers Dont’a Hightower, Elandon Roberts, and David Harris. Van Noy led New England ‘backers with 68 total snaps against the Chiefs on Thursday night.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Packers, Bills, Van Noy, Lions

Unless Packers president Mark Murphy is willing to risk losing well-regarded director of player personnel Eliot Wolf, he’ll probably have to turn the football operations over to the 34-year-old in the offseason and relegate general manager Ted Thompson to an advisory role, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Packers have been highly successful since hiring Thompson in 2005, having gone 112-73-1 with eight playoff appearances, but they’re currently 4-6 and Silverstein argues that Thompson’s free agency-avoiding approach has grown stale. Thompson, who has two years left on his contract, is also three decades older than the up-and-coming Wolf. Thus, if the Packers are sold on Wolf, promoting him soon would make sense.

More from around the NFL, which is capping off a quality slate of Thanksgiving games:

  • Bills No. 1 receiver Sammy Watkins hasn’t seen the field since Week 2 on account of a foot injury, but it appears he’ll return Sunday against Jacksonville. “As long as there’s not another setback or anything like that, I feel pretty good about him playing,” head coach Rex Ryan said Thursday (via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com). Watkins, whom the Bills designated to return from injured reserve Wednesday, will only be available on a limited basis if he does play Sunday. Nevertheless, his presence will be a welcome one for a wideout-needy Buffalo team that likely won’t have Robert Woods in its lineup because of a knee ailment.
  • On the heels of a 25-sack college career at BYU, the Lions selected linebacker Kyle Van Noy in the second round of the 2014 draft. Van Noy amassed just one sack in 30 games with the Lions, though, and they traded him to the Patriots last month for a late-round pick. In his Pats debut last week, Van Noy picked up 29 snaps and a sack in a win over the 49ers, and he admitted Thursday that his Detroit tenure was frustrating because the club seldom used him as a pass rusher. “Oh yeah, who wouldn’t be when you did that your whole college career and then all of a sudden you’re not allowed to, or they don’t want you to,” he told Ryan Hannable of WEEI.
  • There were conflicting reports on Thursday afternoon regarding the Redskins’ willingness to place the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins again in the offseason. That was before Cousins completed 41 of 53 passes for 453 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-26 loss to Dallas. Cousins is amid a late-season tear for the second straight year.
  • Speaking of the Cowboys, who are an NFL-best 10-1, second-round linebacker Jaylon Smith won’t make his debut this season.

AFC Notes: Murray, Colts, RGIII

Let’s take a quick swing around the AFC:

  • Titans RB DeMarco Murray had an MRI on his toe after Thursday night’s victory over Jacksonville, and the prognosis is good, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Rapoport’s source indicated that Murray will be fine.
  • Kevin Bowen of Colts.com believes that Colts TE Jack Doyle has established himself as a starting-caliber tight end, and that his free agent platform year has come at a perfect time for him. Bowen says Doyle will be one of Indianapolis’ most important free agents this offseason and that he could pull down a contract with a $5MM average annual value.
  • Colts DE Kendall Langford, who has the the longest active games-played streak among all NFL defensive linemen (135), will see that streak come to an end, according to Andrew Walker of Colts.com. Langford continues to deal with a right knee issue that required minor surgery during training camp, and he will sit out an indeterminate amount of time to give that knee a chance to fully heal.
  • Neema Hodjat of OverTheCap.com examines what a potential extension for Raiders QB Derek Carr might look like. This is Carr’s third year in the league, so he will be eligible to receive an extension at the end of this season. Assuming he continues to play at a high level, Carr should command a five-year deal worth upwards of $110MM, according to Hodjat. And the Raiders, who have done a terrific job managing the salary cap in recent years, will be able to shell out that kind of money without much hesitation.
  • Browns QB Robert Griffin III does not need surgery at this time, so he could possibly return somewhere between the November 20 game against the Steelers and the Dececmber 11 matchup against the Bengals after the bye week, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Cabot believes the Browns should get RGIII some action this year if possible, as they have to decide if they need to draft a quarterback in April.
  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe opines that the Patriots‘ recent trades for Kyle Van Noy and Eric Rowe indicate that the team is preparing for significant free agent losses this offseason. Both players are under club control through at least 2017, and they are playing on fairly inexpensive deals. Van Noy will serve as insurance should one or both of Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower depart in free agency, and Rowe will offset the potential losses of Malcolm Butler and/or Logan Ryan.
  • Volin tweets that Jacoby Brissett could be the Patriots‘ one player to return from IR this season.

Lions Trade LB Kyle Van Noy To Patriots

The Lions have traded linebacker Kyle Van Noy to the Patriots, according to Field Yates and James Walker of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The deal will send Van Noy and a seventh-round pick to New England in exchange for a sixth-round pick (link)."<strong

Van Noy was believed to be on the chopping block in Detroit after the draft. The Lions kept him on the roster, but they have opted to move him for a modest return mid-season. Van Noy, the Lions‘ second-round pick in 2014, had half of his rookie season wiped out by a stint on injured reserve. Since then, he has not been 100% healthy and his surgically-repaired hip has continued to hamper him. Still, the BYU product started all seven of the Lions’ games this season, totaling 23 tackles and one pass defended.

After the trade, the Patriots are now deeper than ever at linebacker. Behind starters Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, and Elandon Roberts, the Pats have linebacker/defensive end Ninkovich, Shea McClellin, Barkevious Mingo, and now Van Noy. There’s also Jonathan Freeny who could be brought back from IR late in the season.

The Lions are left somewhat thin at linebacker, but that could change when/if linebacker Jon Bostic is brought back from IR. Detroit should also get DeAndre Levy back soon.

This isn’t the first time that Lions GM Bob Quinn has worked out a trade with his former employers in New England. Earlier this year, the Lions acquired Bostic in a swap with the Patriots.

After beating the Redskins on Sunday, the Lions now stand at 4-3 as they prepare for the Texans on Sunday. The Patriots, meanwhile, are 6-1 with the rival Bills on the docket.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bradford, Jets, Giants, Falcons, Lions

Given quarterback Sam Bradford‘s unhappiness in Philadelphia, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk examined the seemingly far-fetched possibility of the 28-year-old retiring – at least temporarily. Bradford would have to surrender the $11MM signing bonus he received from the Eagles earlier this offseason if he were to walk away, but he would offset that loss somewhat by avoiding any fines or forfeitures that would accompany a potential holdout.

The appeal of retiring from Bradford’s point of view is that he could wait for another team’s starting quarterback to suffer an injury, whether it be this year or in 2017, thus leading that club to approach the Eagles about a trade. It would be similar to the situation Carson Palmer found himself in five years ago as a disgruntled member of the Bengals. Early in the 2011 season, the Raiders lost starter Jason Campbell to an injury and then made a trade with the Bengals to bring Palmer out of his short-lived retirement.

Most teams’ starting quarterback situations are set right now, and the Eagles haven’t shown a willingness to move Bradford in the wake of trading up to No. 2 in the draft for Carson Wentz and signing Chase Daniel, so Florio opines that retirement could be his most sensible option.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • There was potential for a New York-New York trade in the first round of last week’s draft, according to the New York Daily News’ Gary Myers, who reports that the Jets offered their first- (20th overall) and second-rounders to the Giants for No. 10. The Jets had their sights set on Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, but the Giants didn’t want to move down and risk losing out on Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple. Had the Giants accepted the Jets’ offer, they would have either taken TCU wideout Josh Doctson or the best cornerback available (likely Houston’s William Jackson III) at No. 20, per Myers. Doctson ultimately went 22nd to Washington and Jackson landed with the Bengals two picks later. Meanwhile, instead of nabbing Tunsil, the Jets kept their top two picks and used them on Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee and Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
  • The Falcons are currently mulling whether to sign free agent cornerback Leon Hall, who visited them this week, reports Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Hall would add depth to a Falcons defensive backfield in need of it, especially given the four-game suspension the league handed Jalen Collins, as McClure writes. The ex-Michigan standout’s entire NFL career has thus far been spent in Cincinnati, where he totaled 26 interceptions from 2007-15, though it doesn’t appear he’ll return to the Bengals. Aside from the Falcons, Hall has also visited the Giants, Cardinals and Cowboys this offseason, but his age (31) and injury history (he has torn both Achilles) are seemingly working against him in landing a contract.
  • With the draft in the books, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com took a look at six Lions veterans whose jobs could now be in jeopardy. Meinke points to quarterback Dan Orlovsky, center Travis Swanson, offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas, linebacker Kyle Van Noy, defensive tackle Gabe Wright and long snapper Don Muhlbach as players who aren’t locks to remain in the Motor City.

Extra Points: Lions, Taliaferro, Chancellor

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy, the Lions‘ second-round pick in 2014, had half of his rookie season wiped out by a stint on injured reserve, and he never got fully healthy after he returned, contributing just six tackles for the year. After undergoing hip surgery earlier this year, Van Noy had higher hopes for the 2015 campaign, but the 24-year-old continues to be nagged by injury issues with the season approaching.

According to head coach Jim Caldwell, the first opinion Van Noy received on his latest injury suggested more surgery isn’t necessary at this point, but the team is seeking a second opinion (Twitter link via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com). While it’s possible that Van Noy lands in Detroit’s IR-DTR spot again, the timetable on his return isn’t clear yet, and the club may want to save that designation this time around.

Let’s check in on several more items from around the NFL…

  • Caldwell also said today that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of two fullbacks – Michael Burton and Emil Igwenagu – making the Lions‘ roster (Twitter link via Rothstein).
  • Phones are lighting up across the league as teams look to make trades before the roster cutdown to 75 players next week, tweets Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN.com. Russini adds that, despite all the chatter, it’s not clear how many deals will actually go down.
  • Ravens coach John Harbaugh says running back Lorenzo Taliaferro will miss a “few weeks” with an MCL sprain, writes Garrett Downing of BaltimoreRavens.com. Taliaferro was listed as the Ravens No. 2 running back behind Justin Forsett, but now rookie fourth-round pick Buck Allen figures to see an increased workload for the rest of the preseason — and potentially early in the regular season.
  • Drawing on his past experience as an NFL executive, Jeff Diamond of The Sporting News takes a closer look at Kam Chancellor‘s holdout, suggesting that GM John Schneider and the Seahawks will have to consider the possibility of trading Chancellor if his holdout extends into September.
  • Speaking today to reporters, including Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link), Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks said that his new extension came together within the last two weeks or so.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC Mailbags: Newman, Norman, Bucs, Reed, Cowboys

Our own Sam Robinson took you through some of the AFC Mailbags earlier today. Now to give the NFC some love, here are a few of the mailbags from that other conference:

  • The Vikings have been going with youth across the roster, and the secondary has been no exception with Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes slated to start on the outside. However, the team also signed 37-year-old corner Terence Newman to bring a veteran presence in the secondary, according to Ben Goessling of ESPN.com. Newman should take a little pressure of Waynes to be effective from day one.
  • The Panthers will definitely put a lot of focus into extending Luke Kuechly, but David Newton of ESPN.com expects that to come next offseason. Josh Norman is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and after performing well for the team he should be a priority for an extension.
  • Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com is guessing starters in his latest Buccaneers mailbag. He picks George Johnson and Jacquies Smith, Danny Lansanah as their third linebacker, and D.J. Swearinger over Chris Conte at safety.
  • Kyle Van Noy and Theo Riddick are a pair of players that have uncertain roles for the Lions in 2015. Van Noy could earn a starting job at linebacker, but won’t see starter’s snaps due to the likely reliance on nickel and dime packages, according to Mike Rothstein of ESPN.com. Riddick will also likely be an afterthough at running back, but should have ample opportunities to catch passes out of the backfield and in the slot.
  • With Jordan Reed‘s injuries, Washington could have used help at tight end either in free agency or the draft, writes John Keim of ESPN.com. While it is surprising, it means the team has confidence in Niles Paul, and believes contributions from the receivers and running backs catching passes could help them survive without Reed for some time.
  • In our lone entry from a non-ESPN writer, Bob Sturm of the Dallas Morning News writes that with the versatility of Byron Jones and Corey White in the secondary, the Cowboys defense could give some very creative looks in 2015. Both players are nominally corners, but each has the ability to play safety as well, and that could let the team mix and match in the defensive backfield.

Lions Reinstate Mosley, Activate Van Noy

Heading into the week with two open roster spots, the Lions have moved quickly to fill those openings. According to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com (via Twitter), the team has reinstated defensive tackle C.J. Mosley from suspension, and activated linebacker Kyle Van Noy from off the injured reserve list.

Mosley, whose suspension came from the team rather than the league, was banned for two weeks, reportedly for an incident related to marijuana. Since the Lions had their bye in Week 9, the penalty only cost the defensive tackle one game — the club’s victory over the Falcons in London.

Meanwhile, Van Noy, the 40th overall pick in this year’s draft, has yet to make his regular-season debut for the Lions, having been placed on IR with the designation to return prior to Week 1. While an abdomen injury cost Van Noy a portion of his rookie season, and the club may ease him back in slowly, the BYU alum had initially been penciled in as a three-down starter for the Lions, so we could see him take on an increased role down the stretch. I identified Van Noy last week as one of the returning players for contending teams who could have an impact in the second half of the season.

Following the pair of transactions, the Lions now have a full 53-man roster.

Minor Moves: Saturday

Here are today’s minor transactions, with the most recent updates added to the top of the list…

  • Wideout Bryan Walters has been cut by the Seahawks, who have promoted practice squad safety Terrance Parks to take his place on the roster, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. As Condotta observes (Twitter links), the move adds depth at safety with a couple players ailing, and leaves Seattle with five active receivers.
  • The Lions have released safety Jerome Couplin and tight end Jordan Thompson, reports Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com (via Twitter). One of those roster spots would likely go to Kyle Van Noy who is set to return to action next week. The other could go to a defensive tackle, with Nick Fairley set to miss this Sunday’s game.
  • The Chargers have released running back Shaun Draughn, reports Michael Gehlken of the U-T San Diego (via Twitter). The team signed safety Adrian Phillips into that roster spot.

Earlier updates:

  • The 49ers have promoted cornerback Leon McFadden to their active roster, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN (via Twitter).
  • The Cardinals have promoted running back Kerwynn Williams to the active roster, reports Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. To make room on the roster, the team parted ways with defensive tackle Bruce Gaston. Urban notes that Gaston could return to the team next week.
  • The Jets have promoted quarterback Matt Simms and cut wideout Chris Owusu, tweets Aaron Wilson. Simms, the son of former Super Bowl MVP Phil Simms, is likely insurance for the Jets in case Geno Smith is unable to suit up.
  • The Chiefs have promoted safety Daniel Sorensen from their practice squad, tweets Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star. To make room on the roster, the team released defensive lineman Damion Square.
  • Washington will release defensive end Clifton Geathers and will activate former fourth round pick Phillip Thomas to the active roster, reports ESPN 980 Radio (confirmed by ESPN’s John Keim). Geathers has been with seven different squads since entering the league in 2010. He signed with Washington this past offseason. Thomas still hasn’t made an NFL appearance since being selected by Washington in last year’s draft.