The Detroit Lions wanted to make a big splash last offseason in order to solidify their defensive line and pass rush by signing Trey Flowers, a player most regarded as the top free agent.
Might that have been a mistake? After an up and down season on the field, the answer could be yes as it relates to the opinion of many folks. Recently, Bleacher Report looked at picking out the worst contract of every team in the league, and when it came to the Lions, Flowers made the cut.
Why does writer Brad Gagnon see the $90 million dollar deal as terrible? Here’s a look at what he wrote on the matter:
“When the Detroit Lions made Flowers one of the league’s highest-paid defenders last offseason, they were betting he’d take off after four increasingly productive, effective seasons with the New England Patriots.
But that didn’t happen.
The sixth-highest-paid defender in the game ($18 million AAV) actually saw his sack total drop from 7.5 in 2018 to seven in 2019, and his quarterback hit total of 21 was below his average in that category from the previous two campaigns (22.5). Pro Football Reference’s Approximate Value metric found that it was tied for his least valuable campaign as a regular NFL starter.
What went wrong? It might have been that he lacked the support in Detroit that he had in New England. But that’s the Lions’ problem, and they owe Flowers $36.7 million over the next two seasons with no off-ramp. They can’t realistically move on until 2022, and even then it’ll cost them a dead-cap hit of $11.2 million.”
The Lions think Flowers is a perfect fit for their defense schematically, so obviously, Flowers will have to have a much bigger season start to finish in 2020 in order to shed some of these labels. It’s easy to see why many considered Flowers a bust, especially considering Detroit’s rough season in 2019.
Given Flowers’ usage in the scheme, the Lions aren’t likely to move on from the defensive end any time soon.
Trey Flowers Explains Lions Season
So why did the Lions year not go as planned? According to Flowers, it’s not easy thing to explain, and is multi-faceted.
“I think it was a lot of things. At the end of the day, a lot of games came down to finishing. We were leading in just about every game, so just putting a team away. Staying focused through the whole entirety of the game,” he said.
How does Flowers propose the Lions do that? Dialing in just a tiny bit more, starting in the offseason.
“Just the focus, the mental focus throughout the game. Not beating yourself with penalties. Not beating yourself with situations as far as not being aware. Just turning your focus over and turning your intensity up when you gotta have it. With all that, just working during the offseason on turning your focus up mentally, physically and prepare yourself to be great that day. That can carry over to the season,” he said.
Wise words from a veteran player who’s been there and done that in terms of winning.
Trey Flowers’ Stats With Lions
The Lions signed Flowers this past offseason, and he got off to a slow start rushing the passer so much so that he had to be called out by pundits near the middle of the season.
In October, Flowers had plays which helped push the New York Giants back and thwart scoring opportunities they had late, and it was finally a case of Flowers stepping up big in a significant spot for his new team. NFL analyst Brian Baldinger took notice, and thinks more plays like this are the key to the Lions turning things around this season.
“They signed him to make plays like this. The Lions have been terrible in the fourth quarter this year, everybody knows that. But they’re 3-3-1 with two games on the road, at Oakland and at Chicago. If they’re going to get back in the race, they need more plays like this from Trey Flowers,” Baldinger says while breaking down the game saving defensive play.
Safe to say Detroit doesn’t win without the key sequence from Flowers, and while they weren’t able to turn the win into any momentum for the season, getting more of those plays consistently figures to be a goal well into the future.
As Baldinger accurately stated, Detroit’s defensive line needs to do more work like this in crunch time. The good news? Flowers might just be getting started in terms of making a large impact down the stretch.
“He’s more than capable of doing it. They brought him here to do that. Trey Flowers is more than capable. Dishing Nate Solder, forcing the fumble, he’s got a lot of bounce in his step. More from Trey Flowers and that whole defensive front. They could get it,” he said.
Flowers answered the bell and played well redeeming himself with 7 sacks this season. Getting others to listen to him, dial in and raise their game is the biggest challenge for the Lions heading into next season.
If that happens, maybe folks won’t be tempted to see him as a waste of money.