Kyle Van Noy

Patriots To Sign Kyle Van Noy

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.

Dolphins Cut Kyle Van Noy

3/10/21, 3:07pm: After failing to find a trade partner, the Dolphins have now officially cut Van Noy, they announced on Wednesday.

3/2/21, 1:25pm: Not so fast. This transaction is not expected to commence immediately. Miami is now expected to first attempt to trade Van Noy, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). While Van Noy has been an effective pass rusher under Flores and Bill Belichick, moving a $12.75MM-per-year contract will be difficult in this cap climate.

12:59pm: The Dolphins are set to release linebacker Kyle Van Noy, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The linebacker joined the Dolphins on a four-year, $51MM deal just last year.

I am surprised and disappointed in their decision,” Van Noy said in a statement confirming the news. “As a captain, I gave my all to the team. I fought through a painful hip injury during the season, including spending a night in the hospital after a game. I was brought there to be a leader and I know my teammates looked up to and respected me. I am looking forward to making an impact o my next team, on and off the field.”

Van Noy barely played his first couple of years in the league. Then, he broke out after the Lions traded him to the Patriots. In 2019, he notched 6.5 sacks and served as a key part of the Patriots’ defense. Even though the Dolphins weren’t positioned as contenders in 2020, they saw Van Noy as a long-term cornerstone.

The veteran logged 69 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries in 14 games for the Dolphins. However, he was the victim of the team’s cap crunch. Rather than carrying his $13.9MM hit, they’ll save approximately $9.78MM on the books. Van Noy’s 2021 salary would have become fully guaranteed on Day 3 of the 2021 league year.

Miami revamped its pass rush by signing Van Noy, Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah last year. The signings helped Brian Flores‘ team contend for the playoffs in one of the more competitive years in AFC history. But with the salary cap expected to be reduced for the 2021 league year, teams are being forced to shed veterans at a higher-than-usual rate. While the Dolphins did not necessarily need to make this move, having $22MM-plus in cap space coming into Tuesday, they will create considerable funds in a buyer’s market by doing so.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Activate Kyle Van Noy From Reserve/COVID-19 List

SATURDAY: Van Noy’s most recent close contact with a coronavirus-stricken person must have come several days ago. The Dolphins activated the linebacker off their reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, putting him on track to play in Week 10. Van Noy’s final coronavirus test of the week must come back negative Sunday morning in order for him to suit up against the Chargers, but this will certainly help an improved Dolphins defense. Wilkins remains on the team’s reserve/COVID list.

THURSDAY: The Dolphins may be without two key defenders against the Chargers on Sunday. The team placed Christian Wilkins and Kyle Van Noy on its reserve/COVID-19 list.

While the Dolphins removed rookie Lynn Bowden Jr. from the COVID list on Thursday, practice squad wide receiver Matt Cole landed on it as well. A Dolphins staffer tested positive for the coronavirus last week. It is not known if Wilkins and Van Noy’s Thursday designations are related to that case. Van Noy’s placement stems from contract tracing, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets.

Unless Wilkins and Van Noy last came in contact with someone who tested positive prior to Tuesday, they will be forced to miss the Dolphins’ Week 10 game. The NFL requires high-risk close contacts to isolate for five days. This would certainly affect Miami’s hopes at winning a fifth straight game.

A 2019 first-round pick, Wilkins has been a Dolphins starter for two seasons. Van Noy followed Brian Flores from New England, signing a four-year, $51MM contract this offseason. Van Noy has recorded two sacks and 33 tackles this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Agree To Terms With Kyle Van Noy

The Dolphins are staying busy. Miami is signing Kyle Van Noy away from the Patriots shortly after we heard the Jets were talking to the outside linebacker, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

In other words, almost the entire AFC East was involved in some way. It’s a big payday for Van Noy, as the Dolphins are giving him a four-year, $51MM contract, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. $30MM of that is guaranteed. Miami just gave a record-breaking contract to cornerback Byron Jones, so they’re certainly spending big to revamp their defense. The move to sign Van Noy makes plenty of sense, as he played for Dolphins head coach Brian Flores when Flores was New England’s defensive coordinator.

To that end, we’ve heard Van Noy isn’t the only former Patriot that the Dolphins will be targeting. Van Noy is the latest free agent for the Jets to miss out on, as they also failed to sign Jones and James Bradberry after expressing interest, among others. Van Noy was drafted 40th overall by the Lions in 2014, and was initially a big disappointment.

He barely played his first couple of years in the league, but began to break out after he was traded to the Pats. He had 6.5 sacks last year while being a key part of a Patriots defense that put up historic numbers for much of the year. Miami obviously wasn’t all-in on winning this past year, but after a brief rebuild they’re clearly intent on turning things around in 2020.

They overachieved with Ryan Fitzpatrick and a bunch of cast-offs in 2019, so it’ll be very interesting to see what Flores can do with all these big new pieces.

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Jets Talking With Kyle Van Noy

The Jets have whiffed on a bunch of big free agents they were supposedly interested in, most recently cornerback James Bradberry and Byron Jones. New York is remaining active though, and they’re “in discussions” with outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy, sources told Connor Hughes of The Athletic (Twitter link).

We heard a couple of weeks ago that the Jets were going to target top pass-rushers, and Van Noy would certainly help them get after the quarterback. The Jets haven’t had many consistent outside rushers in recent years, and they’ll likely have to pay up if they want to land the Patriots free agent. The Lions drafted Van Noy 40th overall in 2014, and the BYU product was initially a big disappointment.

He played sparingly his first two years in the league, then finally began to get some consistent playing time in 2016. Detroit flipped him to New England for a late-round pick in October of that year, and he began to thrive with the Patriots. He started 12 games in 2017, and at least 15 in each of the last two.

This past season, he had 56 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles while being a very large part of a Patriots defense that was putting up historic numbers for much of the year. We’ll keep you posted if we hear anything more between these two division rivals.

 

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East Notes: Fins, Tua, Peters, Anderson

We heard back in January that the Dolphins may pursue some of the Patriots’ top FAs, and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says the ‘Fins are indeed expected to go after guard Joe Thuney. Miami also has interest in Devin McCourty, Ted Karras, and Kyle Van Noy, though the extent of that interest is unclear.

Per Jackson, the Dolphins are also high on former Patriots CB Logan Ryan, who spent the last three years with the Titans. And Ryan would seriously consider joining up with Miami if the club does make an effort to sign him.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions, starting with another item out of South Beach:

  • Recent reports have suggested that the Dolphins are cooling on Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa and that the team is resigned to the fact that he will be off the board by the time they’re on the clock with the No. 5 overall pick. Jackson says Miami gave Tagovailoa the cold shoulder at the combine, but that was likely just a ploy to suggest that they’re not interested when they really are, and draft gurus Todd McShay and Daniel Jeremiah still expect the Fins to land Tagovailoa.
  • Eagles head coach Doug Pederson may want LT Jason Peters back, but the team’s brass as a whole is split as to whether to re-sign Peters or move forward with 2019 first-rounder Andre Dillard, as Albert Breer of SI.com reports. The money they save on a new Peters contract could be re-invested in the rest of the O-line, so Philly could choose to move on from the 38-year-old free agent.
  • Although Robby Anderson may find himself as the best receiver on the free agent market, the Jets are still expected to try to re-sign him. But according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv, New York will not pursue a re-up unless Anderson’s price goes no higher than $10MM per year.
  • John Keim of ESPN.com takes a stab at how the Redskins will spend their money in free agency. Unsurprisingly, he believes Washington will target CB, TE, WR, and RB.

Extra Points: Brady, Dalton, Dolphins, Lions

Tom Brady news figures to be a rather common occurrence in this unusual offseason for the 20-year Patriots passer. Set for free agency for the first time, Brady is not expected to re-sign with the Patriots before free agency opens. The Chargers have surfaced again, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports noting that Brady will have the Bolts atop his list — if, in fact, he decides to leave New England. This is not the first Brady-Chargers link, but JLC adds that the 42-year-old quarterback would have a short list if he did legitimately decide to test free agency. The Chargers’ Los Angeles headquarters, which have not been especially beneficial to the franchise thus far, would appeal to Brady. The future Hall of Famer holds offseason workouts at USC and has previously lived in L.A. The Chargers are set to move into their new stadium, along with the Rams. Brady would certainly help on this front, with the team struggling to generate attention in its new market.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Andy Dalton and new Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor remain close, and JLC can envision this being a factor in how the quarterback dominoes fall during what could be a complex offseason at sports’ marquee position. Dalton “loved” playing for Lazor during his time as Bengals QBs coach and OC, per JLC. Although the Bears have committed to starting Mitchell Trubisky next season, he certainly has not lived up to his No. 2 overall draft slot and could be pushed like 2015 No. 2 pick Marcus Mariota was this season.
  • Patriots free agents Devin McCourty, Joe Thuney and Kyle Van Noy will likely have many suitors. One is expected to be the Dolphins, with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writing that Brian Flores holds McCourty in high regard and that the team will pursue Thuney and Van Noy. All three are unrestricted free agents-to-be. Van Noy and McCourty played under Flores during his time as de facto Patriots defensive coordinator (2018), linebackers coach (2016-17) and safeties coach (2012-15). Van Noy and Thuney may price themselves out of New England.
  • Raekwon McMillan‘s 2019 season also helped sell the Dolphins on his long-term stock, Jackson adds. The Dolphins are interested in keeping the linebacker around long-term. McMillan rated as an upper-echelon linebacker, per Pro Football Focus, this season and became extension-eligible at season’s end. Under the Flores-Chris Grier setup, the Dolphins have already extended a few holdovers from the previous regime.
  • Damon Harrison revealed at the regular season’s end he is considering retirement, and the Lions are still waiting. They will likely not know Snacks’ plans for at least another few weeks, per the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett. Thanks to the one-year add-on the Lions gave him in August, Harrison is under contract through 2021.
  • The Lions are expected to promote defensive assistant Steve Gregory to secondary coach, Birkett adds. The Lions hired Gregory, who played under Matt Patricia in New England, in 2018. Detroit fired DBs coach Brian Stewart after the season.

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.