Should LA Rams take a flyer on 2 SB ring LB?
By Jay Blucher
Okay, here we go. If you accept the premise that the LA Rams‘ linebacking corps was a vulnerability for the team last season, then an alluring possibility of a veteran linebacker becoming suddenly available is something worth investigating.
Of course, the LA Rams will be working crazy hours in search of ways to patch, replace, and improve the roster after the 2020 season draws to a close. And with the Rams looking for ways to shave salary expense, that is not an easy task.
Comes news on Tuesday that the Miami Dolphins are releasing LB Kyle Van Noy, in what many observers view as a somewhat surprising move, considering he was just one year into a four-year, $51 million deal. Obviously, Van Noy was a salary-cap casualty of the ‘Fins, as the move saves the team $9.8 million in cap space.
And what’s to be made of this 6-foot-3 250-pounds, 29-year-old shiny bauble of a linebacker with seven years experience in the league?
Rams’ free agency could include signing LB with 2 SB rings
For openers, he wears two Super Bowl championship rings, won during his tenure with the New England Patriots from 2016 through 2019.
That’s a nice bit of relevant work history that highlights (in neon) any NFL player’s resume. Consider how adding such a steady and reliable locker room presence as he would augment the Rams linebacking unit. Consider what a nice chess piece Van Noy would bring to the fold for new Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris to deploy, disguise, and deceive opposing NFC West offenses.
And consider how his play would step up from the added benefit of playing behind the likes of Aaron Donald, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Van Noy’s versatility as a solid backer combined with his pass-rush ability placed him in the top tier of players at that position. And when he departed New England for a free-agency payday in South Beach (and reunite with former Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores), his absence on the field was keenly felt by the Pats, as their defense faltered without him.
And all he did for Miami last year was play in 14 games, making 69 tackles and recording six sacks while chalking up a career-high 10 tackles for losses, to boot. Playing through a hip injury for part of the season certainly affected his play, but not enough to prevent him from being named by Pro Football Focus’ as the sixth-highest-graded linebacker in the league.
It’s an interesting time in the league when the sixth-ranked linebacker is released, not for performance reasons, but rather, financial salary cap restraints. And a bold, going-for-the-gold-right-now team such as the LA Rams just might wanna take a flyer on this guy.