Trey Flowers

Lions To Sign Trey Flowers

The Lions have agreed to sign free agent DE Trey Flowers, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Schefter tweets that it will be a five-year pact, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that it will be worth around $16MM-$17MM per year.

The official Flowers numbers are in. It’s a five-year, $90MM deal for the former Patriots defensive end, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter), adding Flowers will receive $56MM guaranteed and $40MM fully guaranteed at signing. All of that fully guaranteed cash will come Flowers’ way by 2020, per Albert Breer of SI.com (on Twitter). Flowers will earn $28.88MM in 2019 and $54.37MM in the first three years of this deal.

This contract will bring a $28MM signing bonus, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter). The first two base salaries — $805K in 2019 and $11.13MM (2020) — are fully guaranteed, per Wilson, who adds Flowers’ next two salaries will be $14.38MM (2021, with that total being guaranteed for injury only) and $10MM. The $10MM 2022 figure becomes fully guaranteed if Flowers is on the Lions’ roster on the third day of the 2021 league year.

Flowers was one of the top defenders available on the market this year, and it was reported this morning that the Bills were interested in his services. The Jets and Dolphins were also rumored to be interested in the soon-to-be former Patriot, but he instead opted to reunite with Matt Patricia in Detroit to bolster a pass rush that definitely needs some help.

Flowers won’t turn 26 until August, so he has the chance to build on an already impressive resume. Last year, he set a new career high with 7.5 sacks and continued to generate pressure against opposing QBs. He graded out as the sixth-best edge rusher in the entire NFL according to Pro Football Focus, and he posted a career-best 88.7 overall score. That mark put him below only Calais CampbellKhalil MackJ.J. WattVon Miller, and Cameron Jordan.

The Lions were expected to be active in free agency, and they have not disappointed. Flowers is the biggest addition the club has made so far, but they also signed Danny Amendola this morning and are expected to sign Justin Coleman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Discussing Trey Flowers

The Bills are internally discussing the idea of pursuing Trey Flowers, according to ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson (on Twitter). Flowers will be one of the most coveted free agents when the market opens on Wednesday, so this would be a costly endeavor for Buffalo. 

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 CampbellKhalil MackJ.J. WattVon Miller, and Cameron Jordan.

The Jets have also been heavily connected to Flowers, so it’s quite possible that he’ll remain in the AFC East.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Dolphins, Quinn, Flowers

Here’s a look at the latest from the AFC:

  • The Dolphins “have had trade conversations” about defensive end Robert Quinn, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Quinn is heading into the final year of his contract, and is due $12MM this year. Rapsheet says the “thought is” that if they aren’t able to trade him they’ll release him, which echoes what we heard at the end of the regular season. In the video posted, Rapoport does sound very high on Quinn’s ability to land on his feet. There’s “no doubt” that Quinn will be “coveted” on the open market if he’s released, according to Rapoport. Quinn’s production hasn’t been anywhere near what it was in his first few years in the league, but he’s still only 28. He’s coming off a 6.5 sack season in Miami.
  • Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers, who projects as one of the top free agents in the NFL, is rehabbing from a recent shoulder surgery that is not considered serious, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The surgery is more of a clean-up than a serious procedure, so it shouldn’t hamper Flowers’ market. Last year, Flowers set a new career high with 7.5 sacks and consistently disrupted opposing quarterbacks.
  • The Steelers tendered B.J. Finney at the second round level yesterday, which could mean the writing is on the wall for Ramon Foster. While he isn’t “totally ruling out” a return for Foster, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, thinks the Finney tendering will make it hard for Foster to come back (Twitter link). Foster has been a starter on Pittsburgh’s offensive line for most of the past ten seasons, but Fowler writes the Steelers wouldn’t pay $3.095MM, the amount of Finney’s tender, “for someone they don’t intend to play.”

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Patriots Won’t Tag Trey Flowers, Trent Brown

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.

AFC East Rumors: Flowers, Jets, Pats, Bills

Big changes have occurred in Miami, and more are coming. The Dolphins are expected to shed the contracts of Ryan Tannehill, Robert Quinn, Andre Branch and Josh Sitton (and perhaps more notable names). But the rebuilding team may look to add an impact player familiar with Brian Flores‘ philosophies. The buzz in Indianapolis has led DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline to call the Dolphins the favorites for Trey Flowers, a prospective UFA who helped the Patriots reach the past three Super Bowls. New England’s top pass rusher may stand to benefit from the likely franchise tags the Cowboys, Texans, Seahawks and Chiefs apply to DeMarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney, Frank Clark and Dee Ford. This marketplace could place Flowers in position to push for a near-$20MM-AAV deal, despite sack numbers that don’t correspond with such a pact. However, the Patriots will make a strong attempt to retain their top edge defender. It may take an atypical Patriots contract to keep him, though.

Here is Thursday’s latest coming out of the AFC East (via Indianapolis):

  • Shifting to the Jets, they again need cornerback help. Buster Skrine, the lowest-profile name in Mike Maccagnan‘s 2015 spending spree that brought Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to New York, played out his four-year contract. Morris Claiborne‘s second one-year Jets deal is also expiring. (And Gang Green is having buyer’s remorse on Trumaine Johnson.) The Jets are looking at a slot corner to replace Skrine, and Pauline notes they are high on Bears UFA-to-be Bryce Callahan. Prior to going down with an injury, Callahan was operating as a top-tier slot corner and helping the NFL’s No. 1 DVOA defense.
  • Additionally, the Jets will examine the first- and second-tier edge rushers in free agency, per Pauline. If they are able to land one, that may intensify the team’s desire to trade down. The Jets do not own a second-round pick. However, they do now have more than $100MM in cap space. If the big four edge rushers are all tagged, Flowers, Brandon Graham, Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith and Ziggy Ansah profile as the next-best crew. The Jets will obviously be able to outmuscle other buyers for their preference, so the team — a strong Khalil Mack bidder last year — will be a key presence on this front come March.
  • Chris Hogan did not produce for the Patriots the way he did during the 2017 and ’18 seasons, but he is drawing interest as free agency nears, Doug Kyed of NESN.com notes. The 30-year-old wideout struggled in the playoffs, at least compared to his strong performances at key moments for the previous two Patriot teams he was on, but posted 532 regular-season receiving yards, despite Josh Gordon diminishing his role. And this is not a particularly loaded wideout free agent class. Teams might be eyeing Hogan as a second-tier option come March.
  • On the subject of receivers, the Bills may not feel the need to chase big-ticket wideout options. Brandon Beane has said their offense can survive without a surefire No. 1 wideout, but the third-year GM may be looking for a new slot receiver, per Joe Buscaglia of WKBW.com. Broncos castoff Isaiah McKenzie saw time there toward the end of last season. Buffalo has one of the least inspiring receiving corps at this point. It would be a surprise if the Bills did not make attempts to augment their receiver situation in free agency and the draft.
  • Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones hired a new agent, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss (Twitter link). He is a restricted free agent, one whom Kyed opines may need to be given a second-round tender.

Patriots Notes: Kraft, Flowers, Tate

Patriots owner Robert Kraft will likely not face many legal repercussions from his prostitution charges, according to a Florida criminal defense attorney (via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe). Kraft will probably be required to pay a several hundred dollar fine and attend counseling of some sort, at which point the charges may be dropped.

But the consequences from an NFL standpoint are likely to be much more severe. Volin believes commissioner Roger Goodell should “come down hard on Kraft” and impose at least a six-game suspension and a hefty fine (the maximum fine is $500K). Kraft is obviously one of the most prominent and powerful owners in the league, but he may be relieved of some of his duties (he is a part of five major ownership committees). He was supposed to guide the league through a potential 2021 lockout and lead negotiations with television networks when those contracts expire in 2022, but that is all in question now.

Volin still believes Kraft will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but his induction will now be delayed, and the 77-year-old may not be around to enjoy his enshrinement when it does happen (Volin says Kraft was likely to get the HOF nod in a year or two). And, while Kraft will almost certainly not be forced to sell the club or hand it off to his son, Jonathan, this incident will be a permanent blot on his reputation.

Now let’s take a quick look at a few on-field notes from Foxborough:

  • Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers will be a hot commodity if he hits the open market, but Jim McBride of the Boston Globe says locking him up to a long-term deal is high on New England’s list of priorities. The Pats are unlikely to use the franchise tag on Flowers, and they are unlikely to keep him if it takes an Olivier Vernon-esque deal to do so (five years, $85MM). However, McBride believes Flowers will ultimately return to New England on a multi-year contract, even if he tests the free agent market first.
  • In the same piece linked above, McBride looks at the other Patriots eligible for free agency and their chances of returning to the club. For instance, he believes specialists Stephen Gostkowski and Ryan Allen will certainly be back, while Eric Rowe and Danny Shelton are more likely to find homes elsewhere.
  • Assuming the Patriots don’t trade out of the first round, Doug Kyed of NESN.com sees tight ends Noah Fant (Iowa) and Irv Smith Jr. (Alabama) and DB Taylor Rapp (Washington) as potential fits.
  • Golden Tate would be a good fit in the Patriots’ offense, but Kyed does not believe the Pats will be willing to meet Tate’s asking price.
  • Brothers Devin McCourty and Jason McCourty have announced that they will continue their careers in 2019 after some retirement speculation prior to the Super Bowl. Devin is still under contract with the Patriots, but Jason is eligible for free agency.

AFC Rumors: Broncos, Crennel, Rhule, Henry

Mike Munchak is once again a popular head coaching candidate, with at least four teams interested in his services. But we heard last night that Munchak has strong interest in the Broncos‘ opening, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) reports that Munchak has emerged as the early favorite for that position. Helping the Broncos’ cause is the fact that Munchak has family, including a granddaughter, in the Denver area.

Now for more rumors and rumblings from the AFC:

  • The Broncos are blocking other teams from interviewing senior personnel adviser Gary Kubiak for offensive coordinator jobs, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Kubiak wants to remain in Denver anyway, but he has expressed interest in returning to the sidelines as an OC, and the Broncos would like him to serve in that role under whomever they hire as their next head coach (assuming that person is comfortable with such an arrangement). The Bengals and Falcons had requested interviews.
  • Texans free agents-to-be Kareem Jackson and Tyrann Mathieu want to be back in Houston next year, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. There has been no word on whether the Texans will move to re-sign Jackson, but the team does want Mathieu back, as we learned yesterday.
  • Romeo Crennel is expected to return as the Texans‘ DC in 2019, per head coach Bill O’Brien (via Wilson on Twitter).
  • The Jets have interest in interviewing Baylor head coach Matt Rhule for their own HC vacancy, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com suggests that Gang Green will get an interview with Rhule (Twitter link). The team is in Dallas interviewing Cowboys defensive backs coach Kris Richard today, and Albert Breer of SI.com believes New York brass could interview Rhule while they’re in Texas (Dallas is about 90 minutes from Waco).
  • Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers should be able to land a lucrative free agent deal this offseason, but since he is not a prototypical speed-rushing DE, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com believes it is difficult to pin down what his value will be on the open market. Reiss suggests Flowers could return to New England after testing the free agent waters.
  • The Chargers will remain without tight end Hunter Henry for today’s playoff bout in Baltimore, but if LA wins today, Rapoport says that Henry will be activated tomorrow in the hopes of suiting up against New England next week.
  • Rapoport reiterates that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will not be back in Baltimore next season, but Flacco (unsurprisingly) wants to continue his playing career, and Rapoport suggests that he will get an opportunity as a starter (video link). The only real question is whether Baltimore will be able to trade him or if the club will be forced to cut him.
  • In addition to Flacco, the Ravens will need to decide what to do with impending free agent C.J. Mosley in the offseason. It would probably be unwise to sink too much money into an inside linebacker who struggles in coverage, but Mosley’s leadership abilities for a defense that could be losing a number of key veterans will certainly be a factor in contract negotiations, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.

Extra Points: Patriots, Jaguars, Packers, Browns

In 2017, Browns defensive coordinator and now interim head coach Gregg Williams made a strong push for the team to take Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick rather than take a quarterback.

On Friday, he reiterated that stance, saying he would still take the standout defensive end over quarterbacks like Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes and Mitch Trubisky, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes.

“Yes, I would,’’ said Williams. “I really like (Garrett). They had me evaluate the quarterbacks, too, and they had me evaluate a lot of the top players on the other side of the ball. You do good things like that in successful organizations. Get the opinion of a defensive guy on an offensive guy. Get the opinion of an offensive guy on a defensive guy. You are trying to find all of the little itty bitty things before you make the final decision, I think those are important.”

Regardless of what he would or wouldn’t do, it looks like the situation is going to work out well for the Browns. Instead of taking a quarterback a year ago, the team tabbed Baker Mayfield with the top spot and have recorded the same amount of wins this season as the previous three combined (four).

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Though the Packers need to win out and get plenty of help to get to the playoffs, team CEO Mark Murphy wrote in a week Q&A on Packers.com that he is not ready to give up on the season. “Now, I realize that we are 4-6-1 (and as Bill Parcells famously said, “You are what your record says you are”) and that we haven’t played well. However, we still have almost a third of the season left to play. I know that the odds of making the playoffs are slim (I’ve seen odds range from 3 to 15 percent), but we still have a lot to play for.” Like the odds say, there isn’t much left on the line unless the team can get hot and get some help.
  • Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone‘s firing of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett at this point of the season seems like a diversionary tactic to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. “It feels like an effort by Marrone to alter the conversation that inevitably will happen when owner Shad Khan, who had a taste of life in the NFL’s penthouse in 2017 and has taken the Super Fun Happy Slide straight back to the outhouse, starts asking tough questions after Week 17.” 
  • The Patriots need to re-sign defensive end Trey Flowers, NESN’s Doug Kyed writes in a mailbag. “They either need to bring back Flowers, take a player high in the 2018 NFL Draft, sign a free agent (pass rushers are not cheap) or trade for a veteran edge defender. Isn’t the simplest option just to bring back Flowers?” 

Free Agent Stock Watch: Trey Flowers

Sack artists tend be among the highest earners in free agency, but in 2019 we’ll find out whether the same applies to a defensive end who has generated a ton of pressure against opposing QBs without a ton of sack dances. We’re talking about Patriots standout Trey Flowers, who will look to cash in among a star-studded class of edge rushers. 

This spring, teams will be champing at the bit for free agents like Frank Clark (10 sacks), Dee Ford (9 sacks), DeMarcus Lawrence (9.5 sacks), Jadeveon Clowney (7 sacks). Flowers, meanwhile, has just 3.5 sacks through ten games this season, meaning that he’s on pace for less takedowns than his seven sacks in 2016 and his 6.5 sacks last year.

Of course, sacks don’t tell the whole story when it comes to evaluating edge rushers. Flowers has been terrorizing opposing QBs all season long and Jets signal caller Josh McCown can attest to that after he was hit four times by the Arkansas product last week. Heading into the meat of Week 13, Flowers ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 2 ranked edge defender, behind only Texans superstar J.J. Watt. That’s not too shabby for a player who won’t turn 26 until August.

Watt, by the way, is under contract through 2021 thanks to the six-year, $100MM contract extension he inked in 2014. Given the widespread need for high-level pass rushers, the increase of the salary cap, and the advancement of the market for DEs, it’s possible that Flowers can flirt with or best Watt’s $16.67MM average annual value.

The Patriots typically don’t shell out big bucks for defensive linemen, but they may want to make an exception here. The Patriots’ group of defensive ends beyond Flowers is far from star-studded and they should have the cap room to make his salary fit. A long-term extension with Flowers would cost no less than $13MM annually, so if they’re unwilling to commit, they can franchise tag Flowers for about $17.1MM.

If Flowers hits the open market, what kind of contract will he command? Which teams do you think will be in the mix for him? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Patriots, Eagles, Redskins, Fins

While the Patriots haven’t historically paid up for free agent defensive lineman, Trey Flowers could be a special case, as Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets. For one, Flowers is highly respected within the New England locker room — Howe deems Flowers a “model human being” with zero off-field issues. Second, Flowers and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick share the same agent (Neil Conrich), which could theoretically help push negotiations along. Flowers, 25, is part of stacked 2019 free agent edge rusher class that also includes Jadeveon Clowney, Dee Ford, Frank Clark, and DeMarcus Lawrence. While he’s posted only 3.5 sacks, Flowers ranks sixth in the NFL with 31 quarterback pressures.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions: