Just a few hours into the NFL's pre-free agency negation period, two of the Patriots biggest free agent names have reportedly found new homes.
First came word that tackle Trent Brown intends to sign with the Raiders and now ESPN reports that defensive end Trey Flowers intends to join Matt Patricia's Lions.
Flowers is a former fourth-round pick out of Arkansas who became an impressive mainstay on the New England defense over the last few seasons, the first three years of which came with Patricia as the defensive coordinator.
ESPN's Adam Schefter said on TV that he expected the deal to be for $16-17 million annually. ESPN previously predicted that Flowers would get something in the range of a five-year deal for $85 million with $35 million guaranteed.
After playing in just one game before landing on injured reserve as a rookie in 2015, Flowers started 37 of 46 games played over the last three years tallying 21 sacks, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and six passes defensed. Though his sack numbers are far from eye-popping he was New England's most consistent pass rusher and also a force against the run. He was clearly the first guy opponents game planned for on the Patriots defensive front.
Flowers also proved himself an impact player in the postseason. He had 2.5 sacks in the Super Bowl LI comeback win over the Falcons and a pair of sacks to go along with six QB hits in this winter's three-game run to another Lombardi Trophy.
Flowers exits New England just a few days after the team reportedly traded for former Seahawks and Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett. At this point, with Flowers reportedly out of the picture, the Patriots also have Deatrich Wise Jr., Adrian Clayborn, Keionta Davis, Derek Rivers and Ufomba Kamalu on the defensive end depth chart.