ESPN deems this defensive free agent as best fit for Patriots

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The New England Patriots have had a busy offseason, as they have seen players come and go at a rapid rate. As the focus begins to shift towards training camp, there are still impactful free agents on the market.

ESPN’s Matt Bowen released a list of the top 10 available free agents on Thursday. In addition, he also picked the best fit for each player. Bowen went the defensive route for the Patriots, as he believes Trey Flowers should make his return to Foxborough.

Flowers was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2015 draft. He recorded 21 sacks and 164 combined tackles in four seasons with New England. He won two Super Bowls with the Patriots, before signing a five-year deal with the Detroit Lions in March 2019.

The Lions released Flowers on March 16 after they placed him on injured reserve at the end of the season. He recorded 24 combined tackles and 1.5 sacks in seven games with the Lions last season.

As Bowen notes, a reunion between Flowers and the Patriots would make sense for both parties.

“Flowers only played 14 games over the past two seasons, and the production never really hit in Detroit,” Bowen wrote. “Flowers produced just 10 1/2 sacks in his three years with the Lions. An edge rusher who lacks transcendent traits, Flowers benefits from heavily schemed fronts — which he will see back in New England.

“Over his first three seasons in the NFL, the defensive end logged a total of 20.5 sacks with the Patriots. He wins with slants and stunts, along with the defined one-on-one pass-rush matchups. Flowers played his best and most disruptive football under Bill Belichick, so a return to New England makes sense.”

The Patriots could use Flowers’ skillset, as the organization could use additional linebacker depth. Flowers’ ability to rush the passer could also be an asset, as New England looks to keep up in a crowded, offensively-explosive AFC East.

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