A week out from free agency, the Patriots are starting to get their books in order. In a cap space-saving move, the team released linebacker Kyle Van Noy on Monday afternoon.
Van Noy’s release, which was first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, opens up just under $5 million in cap space for the team. Van Noy was entering the final year of his deal, which he signed last offseason after getting cut by the Miami Dolphins in a similar move.
Upon returning to New England, Van Noy had one of the best seasons of his career in 2021. Playing in 16 games with eight starts, the 30-year-old had 66 tackles with five sacks and a career-high 10 passes deflected. He played 81 percent of the snaps for a defensive unit that ranked second in the NFL in points allowed.
Given those numbers, Van Noy should have a decent market as he hits free agency. As a released veteran and not a player coming off an expiring contract, Van Noy is eligible to sign whenever and does not need to wait for the new league year to begin.
In terms of their roster, the Patriots have plenty of depth on the edge to fill Van Noy's role. His departure could open up more playing time for recent draft picks like Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings or Ronnie Perkins. This year's draft class is also a deep one when it comes to edge defenders.
As for the money opened up by Van Noy's release, the Patriots can use that in a number of ways. It may not be earmarked for a spending spree when the legal tampering period begins next week. The team has a number of internal free agents they need to take care of. J.C. Jackson highlights that group, but starters like Devin McCourty, Dont'a Hightower, Ted Karras and others are set to hit the open market as well.
A look at the Patriots' pending free agents for 2022
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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.