Dolphins cut $51 million player after just one season in which he played through a painful hip injury


Kyle Van Noy




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The Miami Dolphins released linebacker Kyle Van Noy on Tuesday, just one season after signing a 4-year, $51 million contract. 


Van Noy, who was signed last season from the New England Patriots to be the Dolphins defensive captain, admitted he played through an injury to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network shortly after his release. Van Noy played in 14 games for the Dolphins in 2020, racking up six sacks. 






"I am surprised and disappointed in their decision," Van Noy told Garafolo. "As a captain, I gave my all to the team. I fought through a painful hip injury during the season, including spending a night in the hospital after a game. I was brought there to be a leader, and I know my teammates looked up to and respected me."


Van Noy may have been a newcomer to Miami in 2020, but he had an established relationship with several figures on the team's coaching staff, including head coach Brian Flores. Van Noy played under Flores and Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer dating back to their shared time with the New England Patriots. 


That winning relationship was not enough to keep Van Noy employed by the Dolphins. The Dolphins will save $9.8 million after the move but still have to take on over $30 million in total dead money that is guaranteed to Van Noy. 


Van Noy's release is reminiscent of other harsh moves that have taken place in New England under Belichick's leadership and patterns that have manifested on other teams led by Belichick's former assistants. 


In 2010, the Patriots cut veteran linebacker Adalius Thomas, who was also signed to a five-year contract worth over $30 million. In 2016 Belichick traded Pro Bowl linebacker Jamie Collins to the winless Cleveland Browns for a pair of mid-round draft picks, one of which was forfeited due to deflate-gate, when Collins was due for a contract extension.


Last offseason saw two former Belichick assistants make controversial trades that eventually led to their respective firings as head coaches. Former Texans head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien, who worked under Belichick for five seasons, traded All-Pro wide receiver Deandre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for running back David Johnson and a net of one draft pick. 


Meanwhile, former Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia, who worked under Belichick, helped coordinate a trade to send All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for two mid-round picks. 


Miami's latest move falls in line with the culture of player-expendability that has become synonymous among Patriots coaches over the years. Now it's just a matter of whether the move will backfire on Flores just as it's done to his former co-workers or works out fine like it has for his former boss. 


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