Here’s my 2020 football resume:
I led my team in fumble recoveries with two total. Forced Fumbles, yeah, I did that too. My two forced fumbles were good enough for third on the team. Six sacks and 69 tackles were also fitting for third. Speaking about tackles, I led the team in tackles for loss with 12. All of this while playing for the sixth-ranked defense in the NFL.
If you haven’t guessed, those stats belong to Miami Dolphins linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Or rather, former Dolphins linebacker Van Noy, who was cut by Miami on Tuesday.
Kyle Van No-More
Only one Dolphins free agent addition signed a more lucrative contract with the team than Van Noy last season: cornerback Byron Jones. Jones was the league’s highest-paid at his position when he signed last year. Van Noy’s average annual salary was $12.8 million, just behind Byron’s $16.5 million.
Van Noy’s release is just another move in a trend of surprising moves by the Grier/Flores regime. Van Noy was a known commodity, as he played for Brian Flores in New England. He was a captain on a productive defense, and I already highlighted some decent statistics.
The message is clear
However, it wasn’t enough. Was Miami’s season last year a success? The answer depends on who you ask.
Miami’s performance in 2020 surprised many and they were one game out of the playoffs. Last season’s results exceeded most people’s expectations. Given that, the perception was Miami would build around the core that was established with hopes of taking the next step.
That conventional thinking is not these Dolphins. The salary cap is projected to be reduced, and Van Noy’s contract structure and large salary put him at risk. For all the statistics to his credit, Van Noy was a liability in coverage. The Dolphins’ other linebackers like Andrew Van Ginkel have a higher upside. Not to mention another incoming crop of rookies.
The Dolphins only had one player over 30 years of age last season in Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Van Noy was weeks away from turning before he was cut. Miami seems to be sticking with the youth movement. Allen Hurns and Jesse Davis should also be on notice, as they turn 30 later this year.
Ask yourself: who are the current kings of the AFC East? Is it the Bills? Well, the Bills won games the past two seasons, but if the Patriots correct course this season, that could easily be forgotten. The Dolphins realized the fact that while things are trending in the right direction, they haven’t won anything yet.
It’s becoming apparent each day that the current Dolphins will settle for nothing less than winning it all, and that’s a good thing.