New England Patriots rumors: 2 cheap pass rushers Belichick should target

Detroit Lions outside linebacker Trey Flowers (90) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Lions outside linebacker Trey Flowers (90) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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New England Patriots
Trey Flowers #90 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots free agent target No. 1: Trey Flowers

How about the return of an old friend? Trey Flowers rocky tenure with the Detroit Lions officially came to an end last night when the Lions released him in a cap saving move. After a solid 2019 season, Flowers has only played 14 games the past two seasons, as he struggled with injuries and poor play during that time. Matt Patricia brought Flowers in as a free agent when he was coach of the Lions, and once Patricia was fired, Flowers never recovered.

For those who forgot, Flowers made a name for himself as New England’s top pass rusher to during the 2016-18 seasons. His sack numbers weren’t gaudy, but he was a consistent presence in the oppsing team’s backfield. Flowers earned two Super Bowl rings during his time, so why not bring him back to the place where it all began?

All nostalgia aside, Flowers may be just what New England needs on their defensive line. The Lions tried to implement Flowers as a linebacker for some reason last season, but he’s at his best on the edge. As mentioned before, run defense is just as important as pass rush, and Flowers is a very good defender in both aspects of the game.

Flowers decline in play is a bit concerning, but truthfully it was really due to a lack of scheme fit. We have seen players leave the New England Patriots before and struggle mightily only to return and find their form again (e.g. Jamie Collins). Flowers seems like he fits a similar bill, and a return to the Pats scheme may be in the best interest of both parties.

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Flowers will be just 29 years old by the time the 2022 season arrives, so he could realistically land a multi-year deal. He also could take a one year prove it deal and hope to earn a bigger deal next offseason. Either way, Flowers is probably looking at a similar salary range to the one mentioned for Ingram above ($5-7 million). Flowers is a solid player who is familiar with the system already, and it feels like it’s time for the two sides to reconnect.