Starting Monday at noon, other NFL teams officially can start contacting and entering in contract negotiations with New England Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers.
The Patriots already started planning for the possibility of Flowers’ departure when they reportedly agreed to trade for another talented defensive lineman, Michael Bennett. If Flowers doesn’t return, however, they’ll need more help at defensive end.
Here are some potential Patriots pass rushers in free agency:
2018 team: Arizona Cardinals
2018 stats: 30 tackles, 2.5 sacks, six QB hits, five tackles for loss, two passes defended
The Patriots liked Golden prior to the 2015 NFL Draft, but he came off the board six picks before the Patriots selected safety Jordan Richards in the second round. Golden had a double-digit sack season in 2016 and tore his ACL the following season. He wasn’t nearly as productive in 2018, so the Patriots could get him for a bargain, hoping he reaches his pre-injury level of play.
2018 team: Kansas City Chiefs
2018 stats: 37 tackles, nine sacks, 12 QB hits, eight tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, one pass defended
Houston was released Sunday, and ESPN’s Field Yates immediately tied him to the Patriots.
Houston is still really good and could garner big money on a short-term deal. It might be worth it if New England loses out on Flowers, though.
2018 team: Detroit Lions
2018 stats: 11 tackles, four sacks, seven QB hits, three tackles for loss (seven games)
Don’t expect Ansah to get more than a one-year deal in free agency. He’d be a high-upside addition at the right price.
2018 team: Miami Dolphins
2018 stats: 36 tackles, six sacks, 17 QB hits, five tackles for loss, one pass defended, one forced fumbles
Unbelievably, Wake is still a very good player for his age. He’s not a full-time player, but he could be more productive than another situational player like Adrian Clayborn.
2018 team: Oakland Raiders/Atlanta Falcons
2018 stats: 19 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 13 QB hits, seven tackles for loss, one forced fumble
Irvin said the Patriots showed interest in him after he was released by the Oakland Raiders last season. Maybe they’ll take another shot at adding him as a free agent this offseason.
2018 team: Pittsburgh Steelers
2018 stats: 24 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three QB hits, four tackles for loss, two passes defended, two fumble recoveries
The Patriots have a knack for taking unheralded pass rushers and turning their careers around.
2018 team: Detroit Lions
2018 stats: 10 tackles, four sacks, four tackles for loss, one pass defended
The Lions traded for Harold last summer. If Lions general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia liked Harold, then it’s likely the Patriots would too.