Trey Flowers should STAY
Flowers might be the No. 1 priority for the team this offseason. Especially in an NFL market where talented and multidimensional pass-rushers are at a premium, it will be difficult for the Patriots to try and retain him.
The third-year defensive end enters spring as an unrestricted free agent, and the expectation is that he will command a hefty price tag no matter where he ends up signing. At 25 years old, he’s an improving player who might not have even found his peak yet, which speaks volumes to both his potential and his production thus far. Flowers has for the most part been healthy in his first three NFL seasons, and he’s yet to fall below 45 total tackles and 6.5 sacks in a season.
Now, is he anywhere near the level of a Khalil Mack, J.J. Watt, or Aaron Donald? No… at least not yet. The reality of today’s NFL is that pass-rushers get paid for quarterback sacks above all other stats, and Flowers has never had more than 7.5 in a season.
Most coaches would like to see at least double-digit production in that key metric, but Flowers might be given a bit of a pass due to his playing for Belichick in New England. The Patriots have historically never prioritized rushing the passer as much as some other teams around the league, instead focusing on players with the versatility to do multiple things well, rather than just one thing superbly well.
Yes, Flowers can probably cash in with a bigger payday somewhere else; it’s hard to envision Belichick ponying up the kind of lucrative contract other teams desperate for defensive help might throw at him. Still, the marriage between the Patriots and Flowers shouldn’t be underestimated by other side as the offseason gets underway. New England shouldn’t go cheap with him, and Flowers should heavily consider staying if the Pats’ offer is anywhere close to their competitors’ offers.