ATLANTA — The Patriots' Trey Flowers could be a Jets target in free agency, but the defensive end isn't thinking about playing for any other team.
It’s hard to blame him. Flowers is in his fourth NFL season, and playing in his third straight Super Bowl this Sunday. Who would want to leave what Bill Belichick has built in New England.
But Flowers, 25, is expected to be one of the most sought-after defensive players in free agency, and he’s going to get paid. Not being a Patriot though is the farthest thing from Flowers’ mind.
“I can’t say that crossed my mind,” Flowers said Wednesday. “I’m fortunate to be drafted here and have my first four years here. Going through the draft process and not knowing where I’m going to go, and the Patriots called and just being on a team as successful as it is. I wouldn’t say I thought about not being a Patriot.”
The Jets will have roughly $100 million to spend in free agency and will be active. An edge rusher is a priority and a need that they could fill with the No. 3 pick in the draft and/or free agency.
The top potential free-agent pass rushers include DeMarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney, Grady Jarrett, Frank Clark and Dee Ford. Flowers is on that list as well.
Flowers, who missed most of his rookie season because of an injury, also would fit the Jets’ new scheme. They were a 3-4 under former head coach Todd Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers. But new coordinator Gregg Williams runs a 4-3, which is what Flowers plays in with the Patriots.
The truth is there is no guarantee that all of the aforementioned edge rushes will hit the open market. Some could be franchise tagged or sign a long-term extension. That’s also the case for Flowers. He led the Patriots with 7.5 sacks this season and had two in New England’s first two playoff games.
“He’s been a very productive player for us,” Belichick said. “He’s a versatile player. He does a lot of things well. He’s a great worker. He’s a great teammate, a guy that everybody has a lot of confidence in. He works very hard to excel at his job. He’s been a very key player for us and a very good player.”
Flowers hopes to continue to be that for the Patriots beyond Sunday. But beating the Rams and winning his second Super Bowl is all that Flowers is thinking about right now. Free agency will have to wait.
“I’m focusing on the now, focusing on this game,” Flower said. “I’ll let free agency handle itself.”