Once the NFL’s offseason rolls around, fans and pundits alike all try to predict what the biggest signings will be.
Some of the biggest surprises. though, can often come in the players that end up being cut from their teams.
One of those moves came in the form of the Miami Dolphins releasing linebacker Kyle Van Noy only one year after he signed a four-year deal.
Sports Illustrated’s Alain Poupart had immediate analysis on the release, noting that, “Van Noy figures to attract a lot of interest once he hits the open market, though he might not be able to land the kind of deal (four years, $51 million) he got from the Dolphins in March 2020.”
Even at a reduced salary, a player like Van Noy shouldn’t be short of suitors, and the Las Vegas Raiders are reportedly interested.
A two-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, Van Noy was a second-round pick of the Detroit Lions in 2014.
Van Noy appeared lost in his first couple of years in the league, suffering injury and not getting much playing time in Detroit. He became a full-time starter in 2016, but it wasn’t until he was traded mid-season to the Patriots that he finally became a solid starter.
In three and a half years in New England, Van Noy started 45 of a possible 51 games. During that time, he recorded 221 total tackles, 16.5 sacks, two interceptions, five forced fumbles and two defensive touchdowns.
His best play came in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, respectively.
In 2018, he set a career-high in tackles with 92 and had three sacks in the postseason on New England’s last Super Bowl winning team.
In 2019, he set career highs in sacks, quarterback hits and forced fumbles.
It’s that level of play and familiarity with Dolphins head coach Brian Flores that led the team to sign Van Noy to that four-year deal. He then put up similar numbers last season, finishing with 69 tackles and six sacks in 14 games.
Van Noy's ratings at Pro Football Focus have been consistent the last three seasons as well, ranking 29th, 15th and 26th among linebackers from 2018-2020.
Despite all of that, he still ended up being released, but one’s loss can just as easily be the Raiders' gain if they target him.
A versatile player who can capably set the edge, rush the passer or play coverage, Van Noy would be an intriguing chess piece for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
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