The Lions traded Kyle Van Noy to the Patriots, team officials confirmed Tuesday.
Terms of the deal were reported by ESPN — the Lions sent the third-year linebacker and a 2017 seventh-round pick to the Patriots for a sixth-round selection next year.
Van Noy, a second-round choice in 2014, battled injuries his first two seasons, struggling to fulfill lofty expectations in Detroit. He missed nine games as a rookie after suffering a sports hernia. He appeared in 15 games last season, but never carved out a significant role after missing extensive time during training camp with a hip injury.
This offseason, the Lions coaching staff commended Van Noy for getting into the best shape of his life. Two weeks ago, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin continued to praise the linebacker’s conditioning and performance.
“We keep saying the same thing about Kyle, and it all started last year in the offseason when he came back he was in the best shape that he’s been in, which allowed him to practice and learn the position better than he’s ever been able to,” Austin said this month. “I think that’s why he’s continued to play and when he had an opportunity to play he’s taken advantage of it and I think he’s done a good job for us so far.”
Van Noy earned the starting strongside job entering the season, but his playing time sharply dipped last weekend against Washington.
With the added roster spot, the Lions are re-signing Josh Bynes. He started 11 games for Detroit last season, but landed on injured reserve with a knee injury this offseason. He was released, with an injury settlement, before the first game of the season. That settlement expired last week.
Bynes recorded a career-high 82 tackles and five pass breakups in 2015.
The Lions have struggled with linebacker depth this season. DeAndre Levy has been sidelined six consecutive games with quad and knee injuries and isn’t expected back until after the team’s bye next month. Van Noy and rookie Antwione Williams also missed time because of injuries.
With Van Noy out, Williams’ role should continue to expand. He played 28 snaps against Washington, his most in three weeks.
The trade with the Patriots is the second Lions general manager Bob Quinn has orchestrated with his former team. The Lions sent a conditional seventh-round pick to the Patriots for linebacker Jon Bostic in May.
Bostic is currently on injured reserve after undergoing foot surgery in August. He is currently eligible to return to practice.
Practice squad switch
The Lions released running back Mike James from the practice squad and signed offensive lineman Matt Rotheram.
James’ departure hints at the likely return of Dwayne Washington, who has missed the past three weeks with a high ankle sprain.
Rotheram, a 6-foot-5, 325-pounder, went undrafted out of Pittsburgh in 2015. He’s also spent time on the Green Bay and Philadelphia practice squads.
LIONS 2014 DRAFT
Round 1, 10th overall: TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
Round 2, 40th overall: LB Kyle Van Noy, BYU
Round 3, 76th overall: C Travis Swanson, Arkansas
Round 4, 133rd overall: CB Nevin Lawson, Utah State
Round 4, 136th overall: DE Larry Webster, Bloomsburg
Round 5, 158th overall: DL Caraun Reid, Princeton
Round 6, 189th overall: WR TJ Jones, Notre Dame
Round 7, 229th overall: K Nate Freese, Boston College