New England Patriots

  • JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 18: Trey Flowers #90 of the Detroit Lions lines up during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on October 18, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

    JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 18: Trey Flowers #90 of the Detroit Lions lines up during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on October 18, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

    One of the more interesting free-agent defensive linemen on the market has landed back in the AFC East – but not with the Patriots.

    Ex-Patriot Trey Flowers has agreed to a deal with the Miami Dolphins, as the team announced via Twitter on Monday. Flowers spent the past three seasons with the Detroit Lions, after previously signing a five-year contract worth up to $90 million. He ended up earning about $54.3 million of that, according to data from Spotrac.

    Flowers dealt with various injuries over his time in Detroit, missing 19 games from 2020-21. Now he gets a fresh start, and gets it back in the AFC East. According to Ian Rapoport, his deal is for one year and a $2.1 million base, with a chance to earn up to $3 million in incentives.

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  • The Patriots have about $6.1 million in cap space, according to cap expert Miguel Benzan. While they easily could’ve fit Flowers under their cap, they probably would have needed to do some added maneuvering in order to save enough space to accommodate in-season moves.

    Flowers is perhaps still best known for his first four seasons in the NFL with the Patriots, which included two Super Bowl championships in 2016 and 2018. He sacked the Falcons’ Matt Ryan late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LI, which forced a punt and helped complete the Patriots’ historic comeback in that game.

    There are questions, now, of how much the 29-year-old Flowers can replicate his early-career success going forward. As more of a traditional 4-3 defensive end, Flowers hasn’t been a strong fit for the Patriots defense since they switched to more 3-4 fronts. He’d need to switch to outside linebacker, which he tried in 2021 in Detroit.

  • The Patriots could certainly use depth at OLB, where Matthew Judon, Anfernee Jennings, and Josh Uche look like the team’s only viable options to be regulars. At the same time, they’re not exactly in a position to turn away talent. But it’s too late now, obviously.

    Instead, the Patriots will have to plan for a deep Dolphins pass-rush, with Flowers as merely a reserve. Miami’s defensive front contains two recent first-round picks in edge rusher Jaelan Phillips and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, and they also drafted former Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis in the second round of the 2020 draft. Add veteran Emmanuel Ogbah, who compiled nine sacks in 2021, and Flowers, and you have a lot for the Patriots to think about ahead of the season opener.

    The Patriots and Dolphins do battle in Week 1 on Sunday, Sept. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium. Before then, the Patriots have until 4 p.m. on Tuesday to cut their initial roster down to 53 players. We’ll keep you posted on everything between now and then here at 985TheSportsHub.com.

  • Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster 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? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.