Welcome to the 2019 Jets Free Agency Profile series! Up until the start of the 2019 free agency period in March, I’ll be running through a bunch of names the Jets could potentially bring in with their hoard of cap space. Let’s get into it!
Name: Trey Flowers
Birthday/Age: August 16th, 1993 (age 26 on September 1st)
Height/Weight: 6’2, 265
FA type: Unrestricted
College: Arkansas (drafted 101st overall by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2015 draft)
Team(s): Patriots (2015-18)
Position/usage: Primarily a 4-3 defensive end, used in a variety of positions by New England. Played his share of 5-technique, 3-technique, and wide-9, and even stood up over the center at times. Via PFF, a 57/43 split in his percentage of pass rushes from the left side versus right. Very versatile player
2018 stats: 15 games, 7.5 sacks, 20 QB hits, 78 pressures, 57 tackles, 9 TFL, 3 fumbles forced, 2 passes defended
Playoffs: 3 games, 2.0 sacks, 6 QB hits, 6 tackles, 3 TFL
Previous salary: 4 year, $2,838,932 rookie contract signed in 2015. $2.0M cap hit in 2018
Spotrac Market Value: $15.7M/year (would currently be 5th highest among 4-3 defensive ends)
Jets connections: None notable
Measurables (via mockdraftable.com):
- Will only be 26 at the start of 2019
- Good production. 78 pressures in 2018 ranked second among edge defenders. 21.0 sacks, 59 QB hits, and 25 tackles for loss over the last three regular seasons. In 2018, PFF credited him with a 10.5% run-stop percentage, fourth-best among edge defenders. Was PFF’s 8th-ranked edge defender overall in 2018
- Lots of playoff experience (9 games in past three seasons with New England) and has stepped up his production level substantially in the postseason, with 5.5 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, and 22 QB hits in those 9 appearances. Most playoff QB hits of any Patriots defender in the Belichick era (with 6 more than the second-ranked player and 14 more than the third-ranked)
- Versatility is tremendous. Flowers can make it happen from a variety of positions, always showcasing great play strength and savvy technique.
Here, in a wide-9 position, Flowers beats the right tackle with a well timed swipe to get the sack on Deshaun Watson.
Here, lined up as a 5-tech, Flowers quickly recognizes the right tackle setting up far too much outside, and is able to slice inside to create pressure that forces Jared Goff out of bounds for a loss. Not tracked in the common box score, but a productive play nonetheless.
Another Super Bowl play as a 5-tech. Flowers does a nice job using his inside arm at full extension to hold off the right tackle, an impressive display of strength, and then crashes on Todd Gurley at the perfect time to drop him for a hard-hitting one yard loss.
- The Patriots effect. It’s a common stigma that has become associated with good New England players exploring options elsewhere. Can they succeed outside of the Belichick reign?
I do think Flowers has a very good chance to break that mold and be one of the players that does leave New England to find success elsewhere. He doesn’t seem like a product of the system – he looks talented enough to win battles and make plays on his own no matter where he goes. His versatility also should help him find a niche in any defense.
- Jets fans are used to this with Leonard Williams – Flowers needs “off the stat sheet” production and PFF numbers to make himself truly look like a $15M+ player. Since 2016, he’s only 53rd in tackles for loss, 34th in sacks, 32nd in forced fumbles, and 19th in QB hits. Interestingly enough, the only player over that span with more QB hits than Flowers but fewer sacks is Leonard Williams.
Those are nice ranks, but are they nice enough to make Flowers one of the top ten richest players at his position?
I’m definitely not saying to simply judge Flowers on the readily available stats. All of these other advanced stats do matter. They open us up to meaningful production that in the past has been inaccessible. Being a consistent top-five leader in PFF stats like pressures and run stops does indeed have value.
Still, at the end of the day, sacks are king. They will always be the most impactful play a pass rusher can possibly make. Flowers hasn’t gotten too many of those – even with New England opponents throwing the third-most pass attempts against them out of any team in the league since 2016.
Personally, I’m absolutely still on board with paying Flowers despite his so-so production ranks. It’s just how free agency works – you have to overpay a bit to get a quality young starter on the open market. Flowers is a very good player, who would probably be the best bet to make an instant profound impact on the Jets defense out of any of the realistic free agent options on defense.
However, I could definitely see some fans, and more importantly, some teams, being a little wary of Flowers’ good-not-great splash play production.
Five being the most, how intrigued are you by the idea of the Jets pursuing Trey Flowers?
164 votes total