The New England Patriots are notorious for allowing players to leave a year early instead of a year late. How they handle their personnel is a big reason that they have experienced as much success in the last two decades; having Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will also certainly help, but there was a lot that went into that.
The Patriots are also not afraid to let players walk in free agency. They set a price and if the player can find something better on the open market, they wish them well. No one is above that thinking, as New England even let the greatest quarterback of all time in Brady leave in free agency in 2020 to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
That is exactly how things played out in 2019 with EDGE defender, Trey Flowers. Flowers had emerged as a good pass rusher in his first four seasons in the NFL in New England after being a fourth-round pick in 2015 out of Arkansas.
That led to the Detroit Lions, whose head coach was former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, to sign Flowers to a five-year, $90 million deal. He got off to a solid start, picking up seven sacks in 15 games in his first season in the Motor City. However, things quickly went downhill.
Flowers has played in only 14 games the previous two seasons, totaling 3.5 sacks. It led to his release and he remains a free agent right now. Could a reunion with New England be in the works?
Over at ESPN, Matt Bowen named the best fits for the top remaining free agents on the market. He believes the best fit for Flowers is to return to where it all began and sign a deal with the Patriots.
“An edge rusher who lacks transcendent traits, Flowers benefits from heavily schemed fronts — which he will see back in New England.
Over his first three seasons in the NFL, the defensive end logged a total of 20.5 sacks with the Patriots. He wins with slants and stunts, along with the defined one-on-one pass-rush matchups. Flowers played his best and most disruptive football under Bill Belichick, so a return to New England makes sense.”
Flowers would be the latest Patriot that left in free agency to only come back a few years later. Kyle Van Noy is one of the latest examples, as was Patrick Chung years ago as well.
New England knows how to get the most out of Flowers and he should be open to a reunion with his old team. Turning only 29-years old in August, the former Razorback should have plenty left in the tank to offer New England or whoever may end up signing him.