The Deseret News will provide updates as Utah ties sign contracts during NFL free agency.
Harvey Langi returning to New England
Former BYU linebacker Harvey Langi is changing teams, going back to where his NFL career began. Langi, who also played at Utah and Bingham High, is rejoining the New England Patriots, the team confirmed, after becoming a restricted free agent this offseason.
Langi joined the New York Jets midseason in 2018 and spent more than two years in New York, starting nine games and making 76 tackles for the Jets. He had a career-best 60 tackles for New York in 2020, adding a fumble recovery and a pass deflection.
Langi signed with New England after going undrafted in 2017. He spent the majority of that season on injured reserve after he and his wife, Cassidy, were involved in a serious car accident. Langi was released by the Patriots the following year on final cutdowns before signing with the Jets a month later.
He’ll reunite with another former BYU linebacker in New England: Kyle Van Noy rejoined the Patriots this offseason after one year in Miami. Van Noy was surprisingly cut by the Dolphins in March, then signed with his old team in New England, where he’s won a pair of Super Bowl rings.
Alex Smith calls it a career
Former Utah quarterback Alex Smith has retired, ending his 16-year career after going No. 1 overall in the 2015 NFL draft.
Smith threw for 35,650 yards, 199 touchdowns and 109 interceptions while playing for the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Football Team, and in 2020, he earned the 2020 AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year honor, recovering from an injury that nearly cost him his leg in 2018.
He went 99-67-1 during the regular season as a starter, and he picked up two playoff victories as a starter — one each with the 49ers and Chiefs.
Smith — coming off that devastating leg injury — started the 2020 season as the team’s third-string quarterback, then took over as the starter as injuries and ineffective play from other quarterbacks thrust him into the starting role. He went 5-1 as the starter, helping the Football Team reach the playoffs.
Daniel Sorensen heading back to Kansas City for 2021
Former BYU safety Daniel Sorensen will return to the NFL team he’s called home for his seven pro seasons — the Chiefs — as first reported by The Kansas City Star’s Herbie Teope.
Sorensen is re-signing with Kansas City on a one-year deal worth $2.46 million, fully guaranteed, Teope reported.
Sorensen, who became an unrestricted free agent when the NFL’s new league year began March 17, has been a key role player on defense for the Chiefs, particularly during their playoff runs the past two seasons. He won a Super Bowl title with the team in February 2020.
Sorensen is coming off one of his best seasons as a pro, when he had 89 tackles, five pass deflections, three interceptions and two forced fumbles while starting 11 games last season.
Van Noy announces he’s going back to New England
After one year away, former BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy is returning to the New England Patriots.
Van Noy, who was recently released by the Dolphins after one year in Miami as part of a cost-cutting move, shared the news via Twitter that he is going back to the Patriots.
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Van Noy will get a two-year deal with New England worth up to $13.2 million.
Van Noy played three and a half seasons for the Patriots, winning two Super Bowl rings during his previous stint there.
5 Utah ties to watch in free agency
It’s several months until the 2021 NFL season kicks off — this year’s schedule isn’t even released yet — and six weeks until the NFL draft.
Still, that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of NFL-related news taking up plenty of air time in the upcoming days and weeks. That’s because the NFL’s new league year begins Wednesday, and with it, free agency opens.
There are several names familiar to Utahns to follow during the free agency period this offseason. Here are the ones to watch.
Jamaal Williams: The former BYU running back spent the first four years of his career with the Green Bay Packers. Even before he was set to become an unrestricted free agent, though, Williams’ future destination is reportedly known: Detroit. Late Tuesday night, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Williams will sign a two-year contract with the Lions worth up to $7.5 million. Later that night, Williams confirmed the news in a tweet.
Williams rushed for 505 yards and had 236 receiving yards while scoring three touchdowns for Green Bay in 2020. He will join a Lions backfield that currently includes second-year back D’Andre Swift — who was second on the team last year with 521 rushing yards and eight touchdowns — and fourth-year Kerryon Johnson.
Alex Smith: The former University of Utah star was released by the Washington Football Team a little under two weeks ago following his AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year campaign in 2020. He led Washington to a 5-1 record after starting the year as the team’s third-string quarterback, and now the 36-year-old could provide valuable veteran leadership to a team’s quarterback room.
Kyle Van Noy: One of the surprise moves of the offseason so far came when the former BYU linebacker was released by the Miami Dolphins to cut costs. Van Noy is a two-time Super Bowl champion who’s on the move one year after signing a four-year, $51 million deal with the Dolphins and, after serving as a captain last year, will be a veteran with leadership capabilities wherever he signs.
Daniel Sorensen: The former BYU safety has been a staple in the Kansas City Chiefs’ secondary for the past seven seasons, but he is an unrestricted free agent. Sorensen put up some of his best career numbers this past season, starting 11 games, and has valuable postseason experience with the Chiefs, winning a Super Bowl ring two seasons ago.
Tim Patrick: The former Utes wideout has become a reliable target for the Denver Broncos — he had a breakout year in 2020 with 51 receptions for 742 yards and six touchdowns — and he is a restricted free agent this offseason. The Broncos announced Tuesday they have placed a second-round tender on Patrick, meaning Denver would be able to match any offer from another team or receive a second-round pick in return if another team acquired Patrick away from the Broncos.
Utah ties, NFL free agency tracker
Street/other free agents
Players waived or released prior to the new league year who can sign with a team at any time
- Alex Smith, QB, Utah — Retired. Smith retired after 16 seasons in the NFL, with the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Football Team.
- Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU — Signed with New England Patriots: Van Noy rejoined the Patriots after one season in Miami on a two-year deal worth up to $13.2 million, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
Key NFL offseason dates
- Wednesday, March 17, the NFL’s new league year begins. Free agency starts at 2 p.m. MDT, and at that time contracts with unrestricted free agents and prior trades can become official.
- April 23, the final day of the restricted free-agent signing period
- April 29-31, the NFL draft in Cleveland, Ohio
Unrestricted free agents
- Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
- Tony Bergstrom, OL, Utah and Skyline High
- Devontae Booker, RB, Utah — Signed with New York Giants: Booker is joining New York on a two-year, $6 million deal, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported.
- Kyler Fackrell, LB, Utah State — Signed with Los Angeles Chargers.
- Miles Killebrew, S, Southern Utah — Signed with Pittsburgh Steelers: It’s a one-year deal, the team announced.
- Tyler Larsen, OL, Utah State and Jordan High — Signed with Washington Football Team.
- Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State — Re-signed with Las Vegas Raiders.
- JoJo Natson, WR/Ret., Utah State — Re-signed with Cleveland Browns.
- Jared Norris, LB, Utah — Re-signed with Washington Football Team.
- Patrick Scales, LS, Utah State and Weber High — Re-signed with Chicago Bears.
- LeShaun Sims, CB, Southern Utah
- Daniel Sorensen, S, BYU — Re-signed with Kansas City Chiefs: Sorensen is returning to Kansas City on a one-year, $2.46 million deal, per The Kansas City Star’s Herbie Teope.
- Sam Tevi, OT, Utah — Signed with Indianapolis Colts.
- Nick Vigil, LB, Utah State and Fremont High — Signed with Minnesota Vikings: NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Vigil, who spent last year with the Los Angeles Chargers, is joining Minnesota on a one-year deal with more than $1 million guaranteed.
- Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU — Signed with Detroit Lions: NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Williams, who’s played his first four years in Green Bay, agreed to a two-year contract worth up to $7.5 million with the Lions.
Restricted free agents
- Harvey Langi, LB, BYU, Utah and Bingham High — Signed with New England Patriots.
- Tim Patrick, WR, Utah — Denver Broncos placed a second-round tender on Patrick.
Signed before new league year
Players with expired contracts who signed or renegotiated contracts this offseason before the NFL’s new league year starting March 17
- Jackson Barton, OT, Utah and Brighton High — New York Giants.
- Branden Bowen, OT, Corner Canyon High — Arizona Cardinals.
- Michael Davis, CB, BYU — Los Angeles Chargers: Davis, a one-time undrafted free agent, re-signed with the Chargers on a reported three-year, $25.2 million deal, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
- Jordan Devey, OL, Snow College and American Fork High — Buffalo Bills.
- Porter Gustin, DE, Salem Hills High — Cleveland Browns.
- Dallin Leavitt, S, Utah State and BYU — Las Vegas Raiders.
- Bryan Mone, DT, Highland High — Seattle Seahawks.
- Kai Nacua, S, BYU — San Francisco 49ers.