One year after the Miami Dolphins signed linebacker Kyle Van Noy to bring versatility and leadership to the defense, the team is moving on from him.
The Dophins have informed Van Noy they will be releasing him, according to multiple reports first put out by ESPN and NFL Network.
Van Noy joined the Dolphins in March 2020 on a four-year, $51 million contract, but the move to release him will save $9.8 million against the salary cap — $12.5 million if the Dolphins make it a post-June 1 cut.
The contract always made Van Noy susceptible to being released after one year, and the question always was going to be whether the team felt he provided enough to justify continuing to carry his big cap number.
A later report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport suggested the Dolphins would first try to trade Van Noy before releasing him. Because it's already out there that the Dolphins are going to release him, nobody should expect much in terms of a return — maybe a late-round pick at best.
If Van Noy is released, it will be interesting to see what kind of deal he'll get from another team. A return to the New England Patriots might make sense.
Patriots defensive backs (and twins) Devin and Jason McCourty certainly seems to be in favor of a reunion, judging by their tweet today.
Van Noy's contributions in 2020 were solid, though not overwhelming.
He finished the season with 69 tackles, six sacks, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. It needs to be pointed out that half of his sacks came in the 19-7 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals and their woeful offensive line in the December game at Hard Rock Stadium.
"I am surprised and disappointed in their decision," Van Noy said in a statement provided to NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo. "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 on my next team, on and off the field."
Van Noy's departure may have been prompted by the rapid development of 2019 fifth-round pick Andrew Van Ginkel, who made play after play in much more limited action — along with the salary-cap implications.
Van Ginkel had 5.5 sacks last season in 479 snaps, compare to Van Noy's six in 811 snaps. Pro Football Focus gave Van Noy an overall grade of 61.6, compared to 79.3 for Van Ginkel.
Van Noy will become the second member of the Dolphins' 2020 free agent class to leave the team, following running back Jordan Howard, who was released last November.