Patriots Part Ways With 2-Time Super Bowl Champion

Bill Belichick

Getty Bill Belichick's Patriots released one of the team's top defensive players, Kyle Van Noy.

The New England Patriots are moving on from one of their more decorated players from the 2010s.

According to a March 8 story by ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the Patriots released veteran linebacker Kyle Van Noy on March 7. Van Noy, who helped New England win Super Bowls in the 2016 and 2018 seasons, is a member of the Patriots’ All-Decade team from the 2010s.

The cost-cutting move will save the Patriots $4.1 million in cap space, lifting New England up to $9 million in available cap space.

At a cap figure of $7.3 million, Van Noy would have entered the 2022 league year with the ninth-highest cap figure on the team.

Van Noy, who’s been in the league for eight years, addressed in a March 2 interview with WEEI the possibility of his impending departure.

“There are a lot of decisions to be made. … I’m under contract for one more year, but you never know,” Van Noy said on “The Greg Hill Show.”

Van Noy Posted Productive 2021 Campaign

Van Noy, who will turn 31 on March 26, played in over 75% of the team’s defensive snaps — behind only Matt Judon among the team’s linebackers. Pro Football Focus gave Van Noy a 71.6 defensive grade — the 16th-highest grade of any linebacker in the league last season. His 84.7 coverage grade was No. 1 among all linebackers in the NFL.

Outside of Judon, the Patriots’ entire linebacker corps — Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower and Ja’Whaun Bentley — are set to enter free agency. Furthermore, premier corner J.C. Jackson will enter free agency and looks primed to sign with another team.

Although the Patriots ranked second in points allowed, they faltered down the stretch. New England allowed an average of 30 points in each of final five games of 2021, including their 47-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills in the postseason. The Patriots didn’t force a single punt in that game, with Van Noy acknowledging the defense’s performance at the end of the season.

“We just didn’t play well down the stretch, unfortunately. Defensively, offensively, we weren’t playing complementary football,” Van Noy told WEEI. “If everybody can get back to that mindset, OK – what did we learn from this loss? – let’s carry this over and work during the season and remember those losses and get better from them.”

Following the Patriots’ late-season defensive struggles, it appears head coach Bill Belichick is ready to move in a different direction with the unit.

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Report: J.C. Jackson Wants Jalen Ramsey-type of Money

As Jackson, a 26-year-old cornerback, gets ready to test free agency, he will be looking for a few things, according to a March 5 tweet from Mike Giardi of NFL Network.

Giardi indicated that Jackson would like to be paid at the same level of Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, 27. That figure would make him the highest-paid corner in the league, with Ramsey earning $20 million per season.

“JC Jackson info – Tag unlikely, which is to JC’s benefit. – If it’s not Jalen Ramsey money, don’t want to talk. – Leaking tag intel gives teams a chance to say we don’t want to compete in FA for him, maybe tag and trade if compensation agreed to. – Still likes Pats but $$ matters,” Giardi tweeted.

Spotrac projects Jackson’s value to be $20.9 million per season.

With the Patriots lacking in salary cap capital and aiming to acquire a starting receiver — the Carolina Panthers’ Robby Anderson is a reported possibility — New England could allow their Pro Bowl cornerback to walk.

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