The Detroit Lions have announced that they have finalized a trade to send linebacker Kyle Van Noy to the New England Patriots. If you haven’t heard of Van Noy, make a note of his name now. The Patriots have a tendency to turn the guys they trade for into Pro Bowl-caliber players.
The Patriots receive Van Noy and a seventh-round pick, and they will send a sixth-round pick to the Lions in return. To address the vacancy at linebacker, the Lions will re-sign Josh Bynes, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
This wasn’t the only trade for the Patriots today. The Broncos have announced that they have worked out an agreement with New England to send tight end A.J. Derby to Denver in exchange for a 2017 fifth-round pick.
When Van Noy was drafted, he seemed like a good fit for Detroit, but he never lived up to his status as a second-round pick. He was sidelined for half of his rookie season due to injury, and in eight games, he contributed six tackles. So far this season, Van Noy has 21 tackles and one pass deflection. Last year, Van Noy played in 15 games and had just 10 tackles.
New England has been aggressive with trades this season
Martellus Bennett: First the Patriots acquired tight end Martellus Bennett from the Chicago Bears back in March for a fourth-round pick. The Patriots also received a sixth-round pick from Chicago in the deal. It’s worked out well for New England.
Bennett filled in admirably early in the season when Rob Gronkowski missed time with a hamstring injury, and Bennett is fourth in the league among tight ends in receiving yards with 367. He’s tied for first in touchdowns alongside Colts tight end Jack Doyle with four.
Eric Rowe: The Patriots swapped a conditional draft pick with the Eagles for the 2015 second-round cornerback. Rowe has only been on the field for the Patriots for two games, and has seven tackles and two pass breakups.
Against the Steelers in Week 7, Rowe drew a key offensive pass interference penalty against Darrius Heyward-Bey that kept the Steelers from landing deep in Patriots’ territory and in position to at least get three points on the board.
Barkevious Mingo: The Patriots traded for the former Cleveland Browns first-round pick prior to the season, and in his preseason debut in New England Mingo flashed his potential. He had six tackles, two quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles, though one was wiped out by a penalty. So far this season, Mingo has seven tackles in mostly special teams duty.
Jonathan Cooper: Before the season, New England sent defensive end Chandler Jones to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round pick. Although this one looks like it didn’t work out for the Patriots — Cooper was later released and is now with the Browns — they turned the draft pick they received from the Cardinals into two more picks from the Saints in a draft-day trade. With those two draft picks, the Patriots landed two contributors: starting offensive guard Joe Thuney and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell.
This is a pattern with the Patriots
The Patriots have a history of taking these seemingly mundane trades and turning the guys the team acquired into impact players. Randy Moss is the best example. For Moss, the Patriots were his third team in four seasons, and his personality didn’t seem to be the best fit with Belichick’s “Patriot Way.”
In New England, however, Moss had some of the most productive seasons of his career. In 2007, his first season with the Patriots, he had 1,493 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns, which made him the receiving touchdowns leader for that season. Moss was named to the Pro Bowl in 2007 and was also honored as an All-Pro. It was a huge leap from his 2006 performance in Oakland, which he finished with 553 yards and three touchdowns.
The Patriots traded with the Bengals for running back Corey Dillon in 2007, and he was named a Pro Bowler after his first season in New England. Wide receiver Wes Welker led the league in receptions and was named a second-team All-Pro in year one with the Patriots, and he was a Pro Bowler each season for the rest of his Patriots tenure.
Aqib Talib was traded to the Patriots from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the middle of the 2012 season, but in his first full season with New England Talib was voted into the Pro Bowl and was named a second-team All-Pro.
It doesn’t always work out for New England, though. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is a notable example.
Haynesworth was traded from Washington to the Patriots for a fifth-round pick, and he didn’t even last a full season. Haynesworth was benched during a game against the New York Giants, and he exchanged words — presumably not kind ones — with Patriots assistant coach Pepper Johnson on the sideline. The Patriots parted ways with Haynesworth days later.
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New England’s modus operandi involves acquiring players who were former high-round draft picks and starters who have seen playing time decrease with a regime change. That’s certainly true for Van Noy, who was selected in the last draft overseen by former Lions GM Martin Mayhew. Bob Quinn, Detroit’s current GM, spent 16 years in New England, most recently as the director of pro scouting. His relationship with the organization and Belichick certainly helped facilitate the trade.
It’s too early to tell how the Van Noy trade will work out for New England, but it’s a low-risk acquisition, and given the Patriots’ history with trades, Van Noy may surprise everyone.