Detroit Lions' big free-agent get will be Trey Flowers on a 5-year deal
The Detroit Lions desperately needed a pass rusher, and on Monday they landed arguably the best available option at the position in free agency.
The Lions agreed to terms on a five-year deal with New England Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers, according to ESPN. The contract is expected to be worth more than $80 million total.
Flowers spent the last four seasons with the Patriots, where he developed into one of the most versatile pass rushers in the league.
He played the 2015-17 seasons for Lions coach Matt Patricia, and last year had a career-high 7.5 sacks while helping the Patriots win the Super Bowl.
Because of his familiarity with Patricia and the Lions’ defense, and because of the Lions’ positional need at defensive end – Ziggy Ansah will be an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday – Flowers was believed to be the Lions’ No. 1 target this offseason.
He said during Super Bowl week that he probably does not get enough respect as a pass rusher because of how he was used by the Patriots but that “I don’t play the game for respect.”
“I play the game to win and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a great team that wins very often,” Flowers said. “So that’s the only reason I play the game is to work hard and do all those long hours so I can be most prepared for my team to win. If they don’t want to give me the respect as far as in the media and things, it is what it is. That’s not what I do it for.”
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Patricia and the Lions are counting on Flowers to help bring his winning ways to Detroit.
The Lions tied for 11th in the NFL with 43 sacks last season, but did not get enough consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
General manager Bob Quinn, who was part of the front office that drafted Flowers in New England, said one goal of his this offseason was to add more playmakers to the defensive side of the ball.
Though Flowers’ sack numbers pale in comparison to some of the other top pass rushers in the NFL – he’s never had a double-digit sack season in the NFL or college – he was considered the most complete defensive end left in free agency after the likes of DeMarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney and Frank Clark were hit with the franchise tag.
In addition to his versatility and pass-rush ability, Flowers is a top-tier run defender at right end. He forced three fumbles last season, all on run plays, and has had at least 45 tackles each of the last three years.
While Flowers cannot officially sign his contract until 4 p.m. Wednesday, he’s one of three ex-Patriots to come to terms with the Lions on Monday.
The Lions started the day by signing wide receiver Danny Amendola, who was released last week by the Miami Dolphins after playing the 2013-17 seasons in New England, and they also agreed to terms with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Justin Coleman. Coleman spent the 2015-16 seasons with the Patriots.
The Lions entered the day with about $40 million in cap space, and added to that total by releasing cornerback Nevin Lawson.
They were expected to be one of the most active teams in free agency as they looked to rebound from last year’s disappointing 6-10 season.
While they’ve filled three of their biggest needs at defensive end, slot receiver and cornerback, the Lions still have holes to fill at tight end, safety and right guard.
Contact Dave Birkett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Read more on the Detroit Lions and sign up for our Lions newsletter.