NY Jets: Kyle Van Noy could be an interesting free-agent target

NY Jets, Kyle Van Noy Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
NY Jets, Kyle Van Noy Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The NY Jets will be exploring a variety of free agents this offseason as they look to bolster their roster. And one surprise name that just became available is linebacker Kyle Van Noy.

The Miami Dolphins opted to release the veteran linebacker just one year into a four-year, $51 million contract that he signed last offseason. The release was primarily motivated by Miami’s desire to create additional cap space.

Nonetheless, it certainly came as a surprise to many around the league.

Now a free agent, the soon-to-be 30-year-old will likely garner quite a bit of interest on the open market. Could the Jets be one of the teams that shows interest?

Could the NY Jets have interest in Kyle Van Noy?

Perhaps one of the more underrated weaknesses on the Jets’ roster is at linebacker. C.J. Mosley is set to return after opting-out of the 2020 season, but he hasn’t played in essentially two years.

Aside from Mosley, there really aren’t any other answers. Neville Hewitt is a free agent and he doesn’t really fit the Jets’ new scheme making it unlikely he returns. And guys like Blake Cashman and Harvey Langi aren’t starting-caliber.

The Jets will realistically need to add two starting linebackers this offseason to start in Robert Saleh’s new 4-3 scheme. And Van Noy could be an interesting veteran option to address the position in the short-term.

Van Noy made a name for himself in New England where he became one of the most important parts of the Patriots’ defense from 2017 to 2019. He was your classic Bill Belichick obscure pickup turned defensive cornerstone.

And he parlayed his success with the Patriots into a $51 million contract with the Dolphins last offseason. But despite another solid season in which he totaled six sacks and 69 tackles, Miami opted to save money and cut ties with him after just one year.

Van Noy isn’t getting any younger, but he’s been mostly durable over his seven-year career and is still a valuable member of any defense.

More a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end than anything else, Van Noy could fill the LEO role in Saleh’s defense — a position adapted from the likes of Pete Carroll and Gus Bradley who Saleh learned under.

The LEO in Saleh’s defense is essentially a weak-side linebacker who doubles as a pass-rusher and off-ball linebacker. He tends to play near the line of scrimmage on most snaps, but he doesn’t always have his hand in the dirt.

This is a role that Van Noy is very familiar with dating back to his time in both New England and Miami. And with the Jets’ linebacker corps desperately in need of a makeover, Van Noy makes a ton of sense.

Of course, it would have to come at the right price. The former second-round pick turns 30-years-old later this month and that’s something the Jets will have to consider.

Fortunately, don’t expect him to receive the sizable payday that he did last offseason.

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The Jets could take advantage of Kyle Van Noy’s surprise release and keep him in the AFC East for the sixth consecutive season.