SALT LAKE CITY — When the NFL free agency period opens March 18, Kyle Van Noy is headed for a big payday.

The former BYU star is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and played the past four years for New England, winning a pair of Super Bowl rings with the Patriots. 

Van Noy is coming off one of his most successful years as a pro, finishing 2019 with 56 tackles, a career-best 6.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and 15 quarterback hits.

It’s little surprise, then, that Van Noy is listed No. 45 on the recently released’s top 101 NFL free agents of 2020

“Van Noy has mastered the Rob Ninkovich role as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker tasked with setting the edge in the run game and rushing the passer in advantageous situations. With Bill Belichick disciples proliferating throughout the league, Van Noy is reaching free agency at an opportune time,” wrote Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling.

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Van Noy’s most recent contract with the Patriots was a two-year, nearly $11.8 million deal with $5.5 million in guaranteed money, according to Spotrac. Van Noy’s headed into his seventh NFL season and he’s expected to cash in with his most lucrative contract yet.

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“For me personally, I want to do what’s best for my family and I would love to stay in New England,” Van Noy told CBS Sports last month. “It’s going to be home forever. I won Super Bowls there now, the fans have embraced me like their own, I feel like I’m a Bostonian at heart. ... 

“But, at the end of the day, it’s a business. I feel like my game has been very consistent the last couple of years and I want to continue that if it’s with (the Patriots) or with someone else.” 

Other links

The NFL Scouting Combine kicks off this week in Indianapolis, with nine Utes and three Aggies headed to the event. Here’s a little buzz on some of the local participants.

And finally ...

Speaking of Van Noy, he retweeted a monstrous dunk from another former Cougar, Brandon Davies.

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