Kyle Van Noy

AFC West Notes: Chargers, Hackett, Chiefs

After Justin Herbert finished the 2021 season in the unusual position of being the AFC’s Pro Bowl starter but out of the playoffs, Brandon Staley voiced concerns about the Chargers‘ roster to ownership. Staley conveyed to both ownership and the Bolts’ front office that defensive and special teams upgrades were necessary this offseason. More specifically, Staley wanted veteran pieces,’s Lindsey Thiry notes, adding that the second-year HC sought a defense capable of complementing a ready-now offense.

[I] felt really strongly that in order to build a complete football team that was ready to face what we’re going to have to face,” Staley said, “that we needed to make significant changes in those two phases of the game.”

DVOA placed the 2021 Chargers fourth in offense and 26th defensively, despite the fast-rising Staley becoming the team’s head coach based on his defensive credentials. Facing a time crunch created by Herbert’s extension eligibility, the Chargers added big-ticket defensive pieces in Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson. Auxiliary troops like Sebastian Joseph-Day, Austin Johnson, Kyle Van Noy and Bryce Callahan signed as well. The Chargers also extended Derwin James, on a safety-record deal, this summer. The team, which ranked 28th in special teams DVOA last season, replaced its punter and long snapper as well. JK Scott and ex-Falcon Josh Harris are in those roles this year.

These additions raise the stakes for Staley, who will have fewer excuses given his 2022 personnel. Here is the latest from the AFC West, shifting first to a coach off to an unusual start:

  • It is uncertain if the Broncos will change Nathaniel Hackett‘s game-day roles, but after the rookie HC’s game-management struggles through two weeks, he said (via 9News’ Mike Klis, on Twitter) GM George Paton and assistant GM Darren Mougey have assisted him in these areas this week. Although the puzzling 64-yard field goal decision in Seattle and the Denver crowd counting down the play clock in Week 2 (after the team’s fourth delay-of-game penalty of the season) are the main takeaways from Hackett’s start, the Broncos are 0-for-6 in red zone touchdowns and have committed 25 penalties — including six false starts — through two games. The 25 infractions are a Broncos two-game record. Hackett said (via Klis, on Twitter) the team will have “good answers moving forward” in these areas.
  • Willie Gay‘s four-game suspension will take a starting linebacker off the field for the Chiefs. While the team used a third-round pick on Leo Chenal this year, Andy Reid said (via’s Adam Teicher, on Twitter) Darius Harris will be first in line to fill in for Gay. The Middle Tennessee State alum has been with the Chiefs since 2019, being part of the team’s UDFA class. Spending much of his career on Kansas City’s practice squad, Harris has played 13 games — including two starts, both in 2020 — with the team.
  • While Staley stressed the team will not rush Herbert back, the third-year Chargers quarterback practiced in a limited capacity Wednesday. Herbert’s rib cartilage fracture comes as the doctor leading his rehab effort — David S. Gazzaniga — is being sued by former Bolts QB Tyrod Taylor regarding a 2020 incident. “I think we have full alignment with Justin and his family, his agents, and then the medical professionals, and that’s what we’re going to try to do is have alignment that way and just kind of trust the process and hopefully get him well soon,” Staley said, via Thiry.

AFC West Notes: Wilson, Chargers, Chiefs

The Chargers made the biggest cornerback splash this offseason, signing ex-Patriot J.C. Jackson. While Jackson’s starting spot is known, the rest of the Bolts’ corner arrangement is not. Asante Samuel Jr. will enter training camp with the lead to be the team’s other outside starter, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic (subscription required). With Bryce Callahan signed to play in the slot, this would move Michael Davis to a bench role. Davis, who signed a three-year deal worth $25.8MM to stay in Los Angeles last year, started all 14 games he played for the 2021 Chargers. He has worked as a starter for the past three seasons. Pro Football Focus ranked both he and Samuel outside its top 80 corners last season, however. Samuel playing in the slot over Callahan, with Jackson and Davis outside, is another option for the Bolts, Popper adds. Callahan, who dealt with extensive injury problems in Denver, signed for barely the league minimum after the draft.

Shifting first to Denver, here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • Although the NFL is amid its quiet period, the Broncos‘ new quarterback will host a pre-training camp of sorts ahead of the team reconvening. Russell Wilson will gather his pass catchers for a mid-July summit in San Diego, Jeremy Fowler of tweets. The Broncos have their top four wide receivers (Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler) and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam back, and Melvin Gordon‘s re-signing kept the team’s 2021 backfield intact. But Denver newcomers Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett‘s presences obviously loom larger, and the 11th-year QB will take advantage of some off time to accelerate his rapport with his new teammates.
  • Shifting back to L.A., the Bolts are planning to keep Kyle Van Noy in the versatile role he held with the Patriots. The post-draft free agency addition is expected to both work as an edge rusher and an off-ball linebacker, per Popper. Van Noy played both spots during the Bolts’ offseason program. The 31-year-old linebacker should be expected to be the team’s No. 3 edge rusher, behind Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, Popper adds. With the Pats and Dolphins over the past three years, Van Noy combined for 17.5 sacks.
  • Easton Stick‘s rookie contract expires after the 2022 season, and despite the Chargers having Chase Daniel back to be Justin Herbert‘s top backup, Popper notes the team is grooming the North Dakota State product to be Herbert’s post-Daniel QB2. Dating back to Tyrod Taylor‘s tenure, Stick, 26, has been L.A.’s third-stringer throughout his career. Carson Wentz‘s Bison successor has thrown one regular-season pass.
  • A Chiefs exec since 2017, Tim Terry is staying put with a new title. The team bumped him up to senior director of pro personnel, Aaron Wilson of tweets. Terry, 47, has been a key front office staffer for a while. Prior to coming to Kansas City, he spent eight years as the Packers’ assistant director of player personnel. The Chiefs lost one of Brett Veach‘s top lieutenants, assistant director of player personnel Ryan Poles, this offseason. Poles is now the Bears’ GM.

Contract Details: Addison, Michel, Chargers

We’ve compiled some updated numbers on recent NFL signings:

  • Mario Addison, DE (Texans): two-year deal. Contract has a $7.7MM base value, including a $2MM signing bonus, per ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter.
  • Bryce Callahan, CB (Chargers): signed. It’s a one-year deal worth $1.27MM, according to Aaron Wilson of (via Twitter). The deal has a cap hit of $1.04MM thanks to the veteran salary benefit. Callahan will earn a base salary of $1.12MM and a signing bonus worth $152.5K.
  • Mike Davis, RB (Ravens): signed. It’s a one-year deal for the veteran running back, per Yates (on Twitter). The deal is worth a bit more than $1.20MM, meaning Davis’s cap hit will qualify for the veteran salary benefit contract.
  • Tyrann Mathieu, CB (Saints): three-year, $33MM deal ($18MM guaranteed). The deal features a $9.5MM signing bonus and fully guaranteed base salaries in 2022 and 2023. The contract is effectively a three-year pact worth $27MM, with $18MM guaranteed and $2MM in yearly bonuses (via Mike Florio of
  • Sony Michel, RB (Dolphins): one-year, $2.1MM deal. The contract includes a $1.75MM base value, including a $350K signing bonus (per Yates on Twitter).
  • E.J. Perry, QB (Jaguars): signed. The UDFA received $230K in guaranteed money from Jacksonville, including a $23K signing bonus and a guaranteed $207K salary, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).
  • Kyle Van Noy, LB (Chargers): one-year deal. The contract’s base value and cap hit are worth $2.25MM. Includes $1.5MM base salary and $750K signing bonus, per Yates on Twitter.

Chargers Sign LB Kyle Van Noy

Kyle Van Noy‘s Los Angeles visit has produced an agreement that will bring the veteran linebacker to a fourth team. The Chargers signed Van Noy on Thursday. It’s a one-year deal,’s Aaron Wilson tweets.

Productive as a pass rusher despite not working exclusively in that role, Van Noy will join a Chargers team that has made a host of offseason additions on defense. The Bolts’ big-ticket moves came at edge rusher, cornerback and on their defensive line, however. Van Noy will attempt to bolster their linebacking corps.

Although the Patriots became the second team in two years to cut Van Noy, following the Dolphins’ lead, he has registered 11 sacks over the past two seasons. Van Noy, 31, also has forced eight fumbles over the past three. He became a key part of three Patriots Super Bowl defenses and parlayed that production into a four-year, $51MM deal with the Dolphins.

This Bolts pact will not approach that value and will likely come in below the two-year, $13.2MM deal he inked with the Pats last year. But it represents another opportunity for the veteran defender, and on a team that has added the likes of Khalil Mack, J.C. Jackson, Sebastian Joseph-Day and Bryce Callahan to its defense over the past several weeks.

New England elevated Van Noy’s value considerably, acquiring him via trade from Detroit in 2016. Bill Belichick found a spot for a player who became one of the league’s more versatile linebackers. Van Noy has 26.5 sacks over the past five seasons. For linebackers not strictly used as edge defenders, that total trails only Haason Reddick, who morphed into a pure edge during that span. Van Noy also tallied five playoff sacks during that time. He will have an opportunity to contribute alongside Mack and Joey Bosa while mixing in with linebackers Kenneth Murray and Drue Tranquill. The Bolts lost Kyzir White in free agency this offseason.

Kyle Van Noy To Visit Chargers

The Chargers may be close to making another defensive addition. The team is hosting free agent linebacker Kyle Van Noy, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). 

Van Noy finds himself in familiar territory this offseason, having been released after a solid year in terms of production. In his second stint with the Patriots, he totalled 66 tackles and five sacks, adding a pick-six along the way. He also earned a PFF coverage grade of 84.3, showcasing his ability as a contributor both against the run and pass.

The 31-year-old has taken on a significant role since 2016, his third year in the league. He has shouldered a starter’s workload since 2017, his first full season as a Patriot. However, the BYU product was part of a New England linebackers corps which was in need of getting younger and more athletic this offseason. That, coupled with the nearly $5MM the team saved by releasing him, led to him hitting the open market once again.

Tyler Dragon of USA Today reports (on Twitter) that Van Noy is “expected to sign” with the Chargers. Assuming he does, he will represent another notable addition on the defensive side of the ball. The team has already signed Pro Bowl corner J.C. Jackson and traded for All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack, among other moves. He would join the likes of Kenneth MurrayTroy Reeder and Drue Tranquill at the second level of what should be a much-improved defense in 2022.

Patriots Release Kyle Van Noy

The Patriots have made a notable cost-cutting move. Per ESPN’s Field Yates, the team is releasing veteran linebacker Kyle Van Noy (Twitter link). 

Van Noy, who will be 31 by the start of the 2022 season, signed in New England last year following a single campaign in Miami. As a result of the way the deal was structured, he accounted for a reasonable $4.37MM against the cap in 2021. However, that figure was set to jump to $7.4MM for next year. New England will save nearly $5MM by letting him go.

Originally a draft pick of the Lions, Van Noy is most well-known for his solid play with the Patriots. 2021 was no exception, as he posted 66 tackles, five sacks and a pick-six. In coverage, he earned a PFF grade of 84.3, proving his value in all aspects of the game. Like in every full season in New England, he played over 80% of the team’s defensive snaps.

On the other hand, Van Noy was a member of the linebacking corps which struggled to handle faster offensive opponents. With Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower and Ja’Whaun Bentley all pending free agents, this move creates the possibility that nearly the entire position group could be different come next season. Outside of Matt Judon, the team has little in the way of known commodities at the second level of their defense.

The release means Van Noy is free to sign at any time, rather than having to wait until the official beginning of free agency. For the second straight year, he finds himself in the position of needing to find a new home after a productive season; the Patriots, meanwhile, now have just under $13.5MM in cap space to work with.

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 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.

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 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 (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.

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.

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.