New England Patriots

Jan 28, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers (98) during Opening Night for Super Bowl LIII at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers recently underwent surgery on his shoulder. League sources tell Reiss the procedure, described as a cleanup, is not considered serious.

Flowers, 25, is expected to be one of the most coveted free agents on the market if and when he hits it. Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported on Sunday that the defensive end could earn as much as $17 million per season on his next contract. The Miami Dolphins are reportedly considered the front-runners to sign him as soon as the start of free agency on March 13.

Finishing with a career-high 7.5 sacks in 2018, Flowers has been as productive, versatile, and durable as any defender for the Patriots in his first four seasons. After essentially redshirting his rookie year (one game played), Flowers played a bigger role starting in 2016 and has missed just three games in the past three seasons. He missed one game due to a concussion in 2018.

Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA: New England Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA: New England Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

If Super Bowl LIII turns out to be Flowers’ final game as a Patriot, he’ll bow out with two QB hits, three total tackles, and one tackle for loss in the team’s 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

There’s always the possibility that news of Flowers’ surgery will give teams pause in signing him for top-of-the-market money. But it’s likely that his most serious suitors already have the pertinent information. The Dolphins, who hired ex-Patriots defensive signal-caller Brian Flores as their new head coach, must at least have an idea of what’s going on with Flowers’ shoulder.

Flowers is widely expected to end up the best available pass rusher on the free-agent market due to other top names signing extensions or getting the franchise tag from their respective teams. Kansas City’s Dee Ford is expected to get tagged and possibly traded afterward, according to Adam Schefter. Seattle’s Frank Clark may sign with the Seahawks long-term, while other franchise tag candidates include Dallas’ DeMarcus Lawrence and Houston’s Jadeveon Clowney.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.