A two-time Patriots Super Bowl champ reportedly visits Foxborough


The Patriots welcomed five free agents to Gillette Stadium on Thursday, including an old defensive stalwart.

Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers plays against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Detroit.
Trey Flowers racked up 21 sacks over his four seasons in Foxborough. Duane Burleson / AP Photo

Could the Patriots bring back an old friend in order to bolster their front-seven unit next season?

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Patriots welcomed linebacker Trey Flowers to Foxborough for a free-agent visit on Thursday. 

The 29-year-old Flowers played a key role in the heart of New England’s defense for four seasons (2015-19), helping the Patriots capture two Super Bowl titles in 2016 and 2019.

After an injury-plagued rookie season, Flowers thrived on the defensive line in Bill Belichick’s system. Over the following three campaigns, Flowers racked up 163 tackles, 21.0 sacks, and 59 quarterback hits.

In nine playoff games with New England, Flowers totaled 39 tackles and 5.5 sacks.

Flowers was instrumental in the Patriots’ improbable comeback win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

He sacked Matt Ryan 2.5 times — including a critical takedown that took Atlanta out of field-goal range in the fourth quarter — while landing five total QB hits.

But after cashing in on a five-year, $90 million deal with the Lions in 2019, injuries have hampered Flowers’ effectiveness. After a promising debut in Detroit (7.0 sacks over 15 games in 2019), Flowers has ended each of the last three seasons on injured reserve.

Flowers joined the Dolphins last season on a one-year contract, but only ended up playing four total games before being shut down.

If healthy, Flowers could be another pass-rushing option up the middle for New England. But it remains to be seen how much Flowers has left in the tank.

Flowers was far from the only free agent to visit Gillette Stadium on Thursday.

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the Patriots also welcomed safety Taylor Rapp, outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel, wide receiver Bisi Johnson, and linebacker Chris Board. 

Rapp, a 25-year-old free safety who could step into the spot vacated by Devin McCourty, has made 92 tackles or more in three of his last four seasons.

Van Ginkel thrived during Brian Flores’ head-coaching tenure with the Dolphins, recording 9.5 sacks between 2020-21. Last season, the 27-year-old linebacker posted 47 tackles (three for loss), two pass breakups and 0.5 sacks while appearing in all 17 games with Miami.

Johnson has recorded 483 yards and three touchdowns in his career. Once situated above Justin Jefferson on the Vikings receiver depth chart, Johnson has not played since the 2020 season. The 25-year-old wideout has missed each of the last two campaigns due to two ACL tears.

Board, 27, could be coveted in New England as an impactful special teamer. He recorded 21 tackles and forced a fumble last season with the Lions, along with logging 359 snaps on special teams.

Source : https://www.boston.com/sports/new-england-patriots/2023/03/16/trey-flowers-patriots-nfl-free-agency/

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