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Report: Anthony Barr ‘loved Lions,’ but Trey Flowers was Patricia’s priority

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If not for Matt Patricia’s desire to sign the former Patriots pass rusher, the Lions could have went with Anthony Barr instead.

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NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets were the laughing stock of the league for a few hours on Tuesday. After reportedly agreeing to terms to land free agent linebacker Anthony Barr on Monday, the Vikings defender changed his mind overnight, ultimately choosing to re-sign with Minnesota.

Here’s the intriguing part: It was almost the Detroit Lions instead of the Jets.

According to The Athletic, the Lions were very big players in the Anthony Barr market, and Barr was high on them too.

The Athletic reported New York’s initial interest in Barr over the weekend. The issue? At the time, it was No. 2, not 1, on his list. According to league sources, the top spot belonged to the Lions,” wrote Connor Hughes of The Athletic.

While Barr may have preferred the Lions, Detroit had a bigger fish they were looking to catch: Patriots defender Trey Flowers. Understandably, Matt Patricia was fully recruiting Flowers, a player he coached for several years in New England. But Detroit was in a bidding war with former Patriots coach Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins, who were viewed as the favorites to sign the former Patriot.

In the end, Patricia won over Flowers, which allowed the Jets to agree to terms with Barr. Luckily for the Jets, they were also negotiating with C.J. Mosley, so when the Barr deal fell through, they had their contingency plan in place. As for the Dolphins, they’re still looking to upgrade their edge position after losing Cameron Wake to the Tennessee Titans in free agency.

Here’s a look at where all three players involved in this triangle landed:

Trey Flowers to Lions - 5 years, $90 million ($56 million guaranteed)
Anthony Barr to Vikings - 5 years, $67.5 million ($33 million guaranteed)
C.J. Mosley to Jets - 5 years, $85 million ($51 million guaranteed)

The Lions could have had Anthony Barr for much, much cheaper than Flowers, but, of course, there’s no guarantee that Barr would’ve kept his commitment to the Lions, either. As for Mosley, it looks like the Lions got better player for only slightly more.

Overall, I’d say things worked out pretty well for Detroit, even if they had to break the bank to get the player they wanted.