The move felt inevitable, but the Detroit Lions have indeed told Trey Flowers they will release him when the new league year starts.
After a second straight season impacted by injuries, it seemed inevitable. On Thursday, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press was first to report the Detroit Lions have informed defensive end Trey Flowers they will release him when the 2022 league year starts.
As a nod to the “Patriot Way” in Detroit under Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia, the Lions signed Flowers to a five-year, $90 million deal in 2019 amid their run of adding former Patriots players. He had a solid first season as a Lion, with seven sacks, 35 quarterback pressures, 21 quarterback hits and eight tackles for loss, even if it was easy to expect more.
Flowers missed the final nine games of the 2020 season with a broken forearm. Then after missing a couple games early last season with a knee injury, he landed on IR in early December and missed the rest of the season.
Over 14 games spanning the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Flowers had 3.5 sacks. No amount of intangibles as a veteran leader and locker room presence can overcome that lack of production, even it’s fueled by injuries.
Trey Flowers should find a new team fairly easily
Simply put, Flowers’ $23.2 million cap hit was not palatable for the Lions. Under the assumption of a pre-June 1 cut designation, according to Over The Cap, letting him go will leave behind a $12.85 million dead money hit for the Lions with just shy of $10.4 million in cleared cap room. Birkett’s subsequent full article points to the Lions clearing at least $12 million in cap space when the move is made official to cut Flowers next Wednesday. But the specifics are a matter of cap semantics, and the Lions will clear a chunk of cap space for 2022.
Flowers would be due a $1.625 million roster bonus on the third day of the new league year, so the move to cut him coming before then is no surprise. He’ll have collected over $54 million in his three seasons as a Lion.
As a respected veteran who can still be an effective player when healthy, Flowers shouldn’t have much trouble finding a new team. He just not longer fit in the plans for Detroit.