Detroit Lions: Does a defensive change point to Trey Flowers returning?

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Lions, Trey Flowers
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

This past Tuesday, ahead of the NFL Combine, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes took to the podium to discuss the current state of the organization.

The two also discussed their needs, including admitting the obvious that the organization will be seeking an outside receiving threat via free agency or the NFL Draft.  It was also noted that this year there seems to be a tremendously deep crop of receivers, safeties, and edge-rushers entering the draft; ironically, those are three areas of needs looking at the Detroit Lions roster.

Dan Campbell also mentioned that the Detroit Lions’ base defense would be transitioning to a four-man front in 2022 rather than the 3-4 they deployed last season.

This change comes with plenty of questions.  Since last season, I’ve been banging the drum regarding veteran defensive end Trey Flowers suggesting the once-star edge-rusher had played his last snap with the Lions.

Flowers, who is often a favorite of Pro Football Focus, did not grade out well in 2021.  Flowers earned an overall grade of 63.2, the worst of his career, excluding the four defensive snaps played in 2015 as a  rookie.

The next concern is Flowers’ availability.  Over the past two seasons, Flowers has been stricken by injury, having played just 611 total defensive snaps.  During his first season with the Lions, Flowers played 705 defensive snaps.  Needless to say, Flowers has not lived up to the five-year $90 million deal he signed to join the previous regime.

Suppose the Detroit Lions choose to part ways with Flowers. In that case, the organization will save $10.3 million, which may be allocated elsewhere in free agency or perhaps to re-sign a pending free agent such as Charles Harris. The current deal carries a cap hit of $23.2 million and a dead cap of $12.8 million for the 2022 season.

Also, don’t be shocked if neither Flowers nor Harris is back in 2022, leaving Romeo Okwara, and a rookie starting, whether it’s Aidan Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux, with both Julian Okwara and Austin Bryant mixed in.  This would allow the Lions to distribute the savings elsewhere.  Perhaps we will see a reunion between Detroit and Quandre Diggs or a more significant splash for a free agent receiver than I had initially anticipated.