According to a report from Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit Lions are releasing their starting edge rusher Trey Flowers. This move was expected as Flowers was scheduled to have a $23.2 million cap hit in 2022, and his on-field output wasn’t warranting that level of compensation.
Flowers was drafted by the New England Patriots and after four years of building an impressive resume, former Lions general manager Bob Quinn and former coach Matt Patricia (both formerly of the Patriots) made a strong push to bring him to Detroit, hoping to make him the cornerstone of their defense—agreeing to a five-year, $90 million contract.
In 2019, his first season in Detroit, Flowers played in 15 of 16 games, starting them all and registering 51 tackles, 62 pressures—41 hurries, 14 quarterback hits, and seven sacks—and two forced fumbles. He earned an overall 82.8 from PFF. While Flowers remained a leader in the locker room and his performance on the field at a high level, he only played in seven games in 2020.
In 2021, the Lions’ front office and coaching staff were replaced and they made an effort to include Flowers in the new defensive scheme, but injuries once again hit and he was limited to just seven games. He also struggled to adapt to the new role and his PFF grade dropped to 63.2 overall.
Last week, Lions head coach Dan Campbell wouldn’t commit to a decision on Flowers, but praised the veteran’s work ethic.
“Look, I love Trey,” Campbell said. “He’s everything you’re looking for from the intangibles and he’s had a heck of a career. I love everything that he stands for and we’ll make that decision in time.”
With only 14 games played the last two seasons, and Flowers not living up to expectations on the field in the new scheme, it’s no surprise he ended up a cap casualty as the Lions look to other solutions on defense.
According to OverTheCap.com, the Lions will incur a $12.85 million cap hit for releasing Flowers but will also clear $10.4 million in new cap space for 2022.