Trey Flowers is out of New England and headed to the Detroit Lions on a five-year deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
It will be a five-year deal in Detroit for Trey Flowers, per source. https://t.co/WAdJxKmI4H
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2019
The details of the contract have not yet been released but will likely be made public in the coming days. Jeff Howe reports that the Patriots did offer a new deal for Flowers to stay, but Detroit’s offer was far more attractive.
The Patriots’ best offer to Trey Flowers hasn’t been disclosed, but a source close to Flowers said the Lions’ offer was significantly better.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 11, 2019
Flowers will be reunited with former Patriots’ receiver Danny Amendola and former defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia. Patricia became the head coach of the Lions following the 2017-2018 season and has always held Flowers in very high regards so it makes sense that he was one of the Lions targets going into free agency. Flowers was the biggest name free agent from the Patriots’ roster of last season and was highly sought after.
Trey Flowers had established himself as a driving force in New England’s defense over the past few seasons and losing him will definitely be impactful. They traded for Michael Bennett last week and they still have Adrian Clayborn under contract for another season, but that is certainly a drop off in talent from Flowers.
Expect New England to try to target a defensive end or outside backer in free agency or in the draft this year. I doubt that the Patriots are comfortable going into next season with the duo they currently have at the top of their depth chart. One name I would keep an eye on throughout free agency is Justin Houston. Houston has spent the last eight seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs but is currently a free agent. He battled injury last year and only played in 12 games but remained one of the leaders of that Chiefs’ defense. He will have a huge market, but if they can structure a one-year deal it would add a much-needed elite pass rusher until they can find their next long term defensive end.
If New England does not make a move in free agency for a big-time pass rusher, expect to see Dont’a Hightower playing a lot more outside linebacker next season. Hightower is a very versatile linebacker and played a lot more middle linebacker last season than he did in the 2017 season. He is a very good pass rusher and is smart enough to seal the edge in the run game. Kyle Van Noy will be trusted with a lot more responsibility next season which frees up players like Hightower to be effective in the pass rush.
New England has lost two very good players on the first day of free agency but there is still plenty of time to replace those pieces. Flowers walks away from New England with two super bowl rings and a new five-year mega contract. Trent Brown departs with one ring and a four-year deal making him the highest paid tackle in the league. New England might not be willing to spend big money to bring players in, but they definitely bring the best out of players who eventually go on to get massive contracts with other teams.