Trey Flowers

Lions Notes: Okwara, Onwuzurike, Tavai

The Lions have a new regime in place, led by head coach Dan Campbell. Often times, coaching changes put incumbent players on the chopping block, but that’s not necessarily the case for 2019 second-round pick Jahlani Tavai.

I tell you what, I’ve been really impressed with Jahlani,” linebackers coach Mark DeLeone said (via Justin Rogers of The Detroit News). “He’s been here (and) he’s been doing a great job. He’s in really good shape right now. I’m excited to work with him. I’m excited for us to get to OTAs and be able to continue with him because I’m really excited about him.”

I can just tell you when he came out when he was out on the field this week, he’s been doing well and I’ve really enjoyed working with him so far. He has a really good understanding of the game. I think he’s gonna be a nice piece for us to work within this scheme.”

The Lions are exploring their options at LB, including newcomer Alex Anzalone, who has history with Campbell. Tavai, meanwhile, has failed to impress in his two pro seasons. After notching two tackles, one forced fumble, and one interception as a rookie, Tavai didn’t make much of an impact last year. He appeared in all 16 games and made ten starts, but earned poor marks from Pro Football Focus across the board, including a dismal 35.7 score for his coverage. Still, the Lions seem to think that this can be a turning point for the young ‘backer.

More from Detroit:

  • The Lions’ new scheme will push Trey Flowers and Romeo Okwara to outside linebacker, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes.”He’s got a great skill set for what we’re trying to do,” defensive line coach Todd Wash said of Flowers, who inked a $90MM deal to play DE. “Every one of the players that we have on our defensive roster have a skill set. It’s going to be our job obviously as coaches to put them in that position to be successful, and I think Trey has that skill set as a defensive end in base and also in sub.” Flowers won’t be alone — there will be adjustments across the front seven as Detroit commits to a base 3-4 set under Campbell.
  • New second-round pick Levi Onwuzurike will be slotted in as a defensive end that moves inside on clear passing downs, defensive line coach Todd Wash says (Twitter link via Rogers).
  • Before the Lions signed Dan Campbell, they also explored Iowa State coach Matt Campbell as a candidate. But, despite a report to the contrary, it sounds like they never made a formal offer.

Lions Place Trey Flowers On IR

The Lions lost to the Colts on Sunday, and they picked up a couple of significant injuries while doing so. Defensive end Trey Flowers is going on injured reserve and as such will miss at least the next three games, the team announced Monday.

Meanwhile star receiver Kenny Golladay picked up a hip injury that will sideline him this week and have him week to week moving forward, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport noted in a follow-up tweet that IR is a possibility for him as well. The team views Flowers’ stint as a short-term one, Tim Twentyman of the team’s official site tweets.

It sounds like he’ll be back before too long, but it’s still a big blow. Signed to a five-year, $90MM pact last March, Flowers is the anchor of Detroit’s already underwhelming pass-rush. The former Patriot has two sacks and two forced fumbles through seven games this year. Fortunately the team just traded for Everson Griffen, and now they’ll really need him.

Golladay of course is the team’s top receiver, and this is a big setback for the offense. Golladay missed the first couple of games of the season with a hamstring issue, but had at least 105 yards in back to back games before going down against the Colts. Hopefully both will be back on the field as soon as possible.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Bears, Vikings, Flowers

The Bears have made some splashy trades since Ryan Pace replaced Phil Emery as GM in 2015. Deals that brought Khalil Mack and Mitch Trubisky to Chicago required major assets to complete. Fourth-year starter Cody Whitehair and second-round tight end Adam Shaheen also forced the Bears to surrender multiple mid-round picks. In a detailed piece by The Athletic’s Adam Jahns (subscription required), Pace summarized his aggressiveness on these fronts.

I think if you sit on your hands and you say, ‘Oh, this player is definitely going to get to us,’ and he goes right before you and you had conviction on him — not just you but the scouts and the coaches – and you wait on it, you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Pace said. “If you have a guy or a group of guys, be aggressive and make it happen.

I don’t want to undervalue any of these mid-round picks. We’ve shown a lot examples of us hitting on those players. But I know if we’re ever in a situation where, ‘Hey, we’re doing a little too much here,’ we can police ourselves on that. But as long as it’s a fair deal and we’re getting a player that we all have conviction on, then we’ll do it.”

As teams break for camp, here is more from the NFC North:

  • A knee injury Ha Ha Clinton-Dix suffered during Chicago’s offseason program resulted in the recently signed safety beginning his first Bears camp on the active/PUP list. The former Packers and Redskins defender has not missed a game since the 2014 season.
  • However, the Bears received good news on Trey Burton. The team’s second-year tight end starter has been cleared for camp work. The “Philly Special” quarterback underwent sports hernia surgery this offseason.
  • Although Alexander Mattison is the assumed next man up if Dalvin Cook again goes down with an injury, Mike Zimmer cautioned about anointing the third-round pick too soon. The sixth-year Vikings coach (via the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling) singled out third-year UDFA C.J. Ham as a player who stands to play more on passing downs, in front of Mattison, due to pass-protection skills. Backs often begin their NFL careers limited at this skill, so the 26-year-old Ham (31 touches in two seasons, when Latavius Murray played behind Cook) may function as a stopgap while Mattison is groomed.
  • The Lions‘ top offseason expense, Trey Flowers will not begin camp with the bulk of his teammates. The four-year Patriots pass rusher will start his first Lions camp on their active/PUP list. Flowers underwent shoulder surgery before signing with the Lions, but Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes the $18MM-per-year defensive end is expected to be ready by Week 1.

Lions To Sign Trey Flowers

The Lions have agreed to sign free agent DE Trey Flowers, per Adam Schefter of (via Twitter). Schefter tweets that it will be a five-year pact, and Ian Rapoport of 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,’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 (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’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 (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 (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, 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 and Adam Schefter of 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’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 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 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’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 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 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 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 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 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.