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As Expected, the Patriots Lose Trey Flowers Too. Nobody Panic.

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Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots

I hate to say I told you so. Which is to say … I told you so. Like I said last week

[I]t’s time to have a mature, heart-to-heart talk. And for the purposes of this discussion, I’ll be using the tone your dad used when he told you what really happened to your dog and the vet didn’t really send him off to go live on an island with a bunch of other dogs.

Trey Flowers is gone, and he’s not coming back.

That’s not something I say lightly. And for sure I hope I’m wrong. But now is the perfect time for us to face facts. During the legal tampering period and before Free Agency officially begins, it’s our opportunity to resign ourselves to the fact Flowers is almost certain to sign somewhere else, and for huge money.

There were some reports that Flowers and the Pats were in talks and speculation that he might be back, but that was FantasyLand. When the top five free agents on the market were all Edge players and the other four were all franchised at around $17 million guaranteed, the only chance that he’d be back rested on Flowers deciding that after three trips to the Super Bowl and two rings, he did not want to be paid in dump trucks filled with gold bricks. And why would anyone assume that?

As sorry as I am to see Flowers go, in a moment of crazy, irrational optimism I put the chances of them keeping him at 25 percent. Looking back, I’m not sure what I was thinking because this was pretty much an inevitability, even before teams started tossing Franchise Tags at DEs like Beer Pong balls.

So just like what I said a couple of hours ago about Trent Brown, good for Trey Flowers. But also like I said regarding Brown, the Patriots will be just fine. This is all part of the plan. Spring around here is a time for losing key components of championship teams. But it’s also a time for renewal. This doesn’t come up suddenly. Belichick and Nick Caserio didn’t just come back from lunch to find Flowers putting a box of personal belongings in his trunk like a husband walking out on his wife. They read the market well in advance and put a plan in place. In the immediate future, that plan includes Michael Bennett. And possibly Adrian Clayborn coming back. Further out, it might involve bigger roles for Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise Jr.

And if none of those guys sound like viable alternatives because Flowers has played himself into some kind of irreplaceable status, let me remind you again that in 2015 he was the 101st pick in the draft. Rivers and Wise are going into their third years. Rivers was the 83rd pick. Wise was 131st out of Arkansas, the same program as Flowers. So they’re entering the same stage in their rookie deals where Chandler Jones and Flowers impressed pro personnel departments enough to break into the mutual funds and money market accounts to sign them. If you think these guys can’t possibly do the same, you’re being ignorant of Patriots history.

And let me repeat one other thing about today’s losses. The compensation for Brown and Flowers will be 3rd round draft picks. Just like it was last year for losing Nate Solder and Malcolm Butler. For Solder, they got the 97th pick. Trent Brown was the 244th in his draft. For Butler, they got the 101st, exactly where they picked up Flowers. And with the picks they got, they’ll find the replacements for the replacements after they get paid huge money by loser franchises hoping to buy some of the Patriots’ juju. Losing these guys bites, but it’s exactly how this dynasty perpetuates itself.

So congrats to Trey Flowers for cashing in and getting back with Matt Patricia. And thanks always for the two rings. But we’ll be more than fine after he’s gone.