Friday, February 15, 2019

Trey Flowers issues reminder of Super Bowl dominance

By SAM QUINN 17 hours ago (February 14, 2019)

The New England Patriots may have given Tom Brady his sixth Super Bowl ring by defeating the Los Angeles Rams in the big game two weeks ago, but the star of the show was their incredible defense. They held the explosive Los Angeles Rams to only three points in that game, and while just about everyone on defense did their job in the legendary performance, the player that stood out was clearly Trey Flowers. He generated a ton of pressure on Jared Goff while also proving invaluable in run-support to help secure the victory for New England, and on Thursday, he took to Twitter to remind the world of the monster game he and his defense played.

This is particularly relevant now, with less than a month to go before free agency begins. Flowers is going to hit the market if the Patriots don't use their franchise tag on him, and he is going to be worth a fortune. His low sack totals don't tell the story of what he brings to a defense. He is perhaps the most well-rounded 4-3 defensive end in football right now, capable of dominance against both the run and the pass, and his playoff run should have sent his value through the roof.
The going rate for top pass-rushers right now is around $15 million per year. According to Spotrac, the highest-paid defensive end in the NFL in terms of average salary is Olivier Vernon at $17 million per year, and he signed his contract three years ago. With an expanding cap and the whole NFL able to bid on him, it wouldn't be inconceivable for Flowers to top that.

The Patriots have been hesitant to give out that kind of money in the past. They had Chandler Jones on their roster, but rather than pay him the $16.5 million per year the Arizona Cardinals are paying him, they traded him. New England prefers to pay several players mid-range salaries rather than go whole hog for any one star. That strategy has delivered them six championships, so it would be hard to argue its overall effectiveness.
And perhaps Flowers knows that, and is reminding the Patriots with this tweet just how valuable he is. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Patriots won the Super Bowl on defense alone. The offense produced only 13 points. That doesn't mean the Patriots are weak on that side of the ball, but with Brady entering his age-42 season, New England won't be able to rely on him forever. Their best bet at sustaining this success when he retires might be defense, and Flowers is the best player they have on that side of the ball. Paying him now could save them a lot of headaches later.

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