Kyle Van Noy Released by Dolphins 1 Year into $51M Contract

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIMarch 10, 2021

FILE - Miami Dolphins middle linebacker Kyle Van Noy (53) warms up before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Miami Gardens, Fla., in this Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, file photo. The Miami Dolphins told linebacker Kyle Van Noy he will be released, two people familiar with the discussion confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. The people confirmed the disclosure to the AP on condition of anonymity because the Dolphins have not commented.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

The Miami Dolphins officially released linebacker Kyle Van Noy on Wednesday, ending his tenure in South Florida one year into a four-year, $51 million deal.

Miami Dolphins @MiamiDolphins

We have released LB Kyle Van Noy.

Kyle Van Noy @KVN_03

Appreciate the love from the fans and my relationship with my teammates. Looking forward to the next spot... ✌🏽✌🏽 https://t.co/Juvx3FV96u

Van Noy played 14 games last year, finishing with 69 total tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles following a successful four-year stint with the New England Patriots. He'll become one of the top linebackers on the market when free agency begins March 17. 

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the NFL salary cap is decreasing from $198.2 million in 2020 to $182.5 million in 2021—with the loss of revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic playing a key factor.

Releasing Van Noy gives the Dolphins about $33.1 million in cap space, per Spotrac, which would count as the eighth-most in the league. Yet the move makes sense given the state of Miami's franchise. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has yet to establish himself as a legitimate cornerstone piece, the Buffalo Bills are the class of the AFC South and, after winning 10 games in 2020, the Dolphins may have a larger margin for error than in recent years. 

Van Noy was simply a luxury the team could no longer afford. 

That should come as great news to other clubs around the league in need of an inside linebacker. 

The position class is a bit top-heavy with Melvin Ingram, Bud Dupree, Shaquil Barrett and Kwon Alexander featured as the top names. Van Noy adds a bit more depth to that list and at a significantly cheaper price. 

Dupree earned $15.8 million annually on his last contract. Van Noy earned $12.8 million. It remains to be seen if he can reach that type of AAV on his next deal.