The Patriots are not expected to apply the franchise tag to any of their notable free agents, as Field Yates of ESPN.com and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweet. This means that defensive end Trey Flowers and offensive tackle Trent Brown are on target to reach free agency in a week. As previously reported, kicker Stephen Gostkowski won’t be receiving the tag either.
Flowers won’t turn 26 until August and profiles as one of the most attractive free agents in this year’s crop. Last year, he set a new career high with 7.5 sacks and continued to generate pressure against opposing QBs. Last year, Flowers graded out as the sixth-best edge rusher in the entire NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, and posted a career-best 88.7 overall score. That mark put him below only Calais Campbell, Khalil Mack, J.J. Watt, Von Miller, and Cameron Jordan.
If Flowers does not re-sign with New England, the rival Jets could be among Flowers’ top suitors. The Jets have the second-highest cap room total of any team in the league and are in desperate need of pass rushers.
Brown, meanwhile, has been vocal about his desire to remain with the Pats. However, the Patriots tend to be thrifty when it comes to bidding against other teams and tackles of Brown’s caliber figure to see major dollar signs this offseason. On Tuesday, Bucs tackle Donovan Smith re-upped on a three-year, $41.25MM deal that surely has Brown’s camp salivating.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.