Patriots Could Be Reuniting With Another Former Player

Getty Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots recently brought Malcolm Butler back to the team after he sat out the 2021 season. Butler had been a Super Bowl hero for the Patriots in 2017 before an unceremonious separation following the 2017 season.

After that reunion happened, it is safe to say the Patriots could potentially mend fences with almost any former player. Perhaps that is part of the reason why many have predicted the Patriots and recently released former defensive lineman Trey Flowers will ultimately come to an agreement on a deal.

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Flowers was released by the Detroit Lions on March 10 in a cost-cutting move by the oft-in-peril NFC North doormat. Immediately, the Patriots seemed like Flowers’ likely landing spot.

NESN’s Zack Cox called a Flowers-Patriots reunion “the most logical outcome.”

“The well-respected 28-year-old was the Patriots’ best pass rusher in 2017 and 2018 before injuries and a regime change derailed his Lions tenure,” Cox wrote. “He’d boost a New England rush that was overly reliant on [Matthew] Judon and Christian Barmore to generate pressure in 2021.”

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Trey Flowers Has a Problematic Injury History

The 28-year-old, 2-time Super Bowl champion has been hit hard by injury over the past two seasons. In 2021, Flowers missed 10 games after he missed 9 in 2020. From 2016-2019, Flowers averaged 7 sacks per season.

His numbers dipped dramatically the last two seasons to 2 and 1.5 in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Because of his lack of production, Flowers could come on a cheap prove-it deal. That’s likely the sort of contract New England would be attracted to considering their passive approach to free agency this offseason.

Depth could be a major issue for the Patriots and Flowers’ experience in the system grouped with his versatility could make him a strong fit.

Are the Patriots Falling Behind Their AFC East Rivals?

New England’s less-than-aggressive approach to free agency has some fans and members of the media scratching their heads. After Bill Belichick went on an unprecedented spending spree in 2021, he has seemingly guided the team in the polar opposite direction this season.

In addition to bringing Butler back into the fold, the Patriots have completed only a handful of minor moves, such as: re-signing Trent Brown, Devin McCourty, James White and a few others. New England traded Chase Winovich for Mack Wilson. They also dealt away Shaq Mason and signed wide receiver/running back Ty Montgomery.

There is still some hope the Patriots will look at a potential trade or signing to bring in a No. 1 wide receiver. However, it is looking more likely New England will address the receiver position in the NFL Draft.

It would not be surprising to see New England draft two or even three wideouts in 2022 as they search to add weapons for second-year quarterback Mac Jones.

If the Patriots ultimately wind up signing Flowers, the deal will generate some moderate buzz in Patriots Nation because of the fans’ familiarity with him, but it won’t quench the thirst for the team to pull off a needle-moving deal with a player whose name carries more weight.

As of now, the Miami Dolphins who acquired Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead have had by far the most impressive offseason on paper of any AFC East team. Games aren’t won on paper, but it is tough not to wonder if the Patriots have fallen too far behind.

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