New England Patriots, NFL Free Agency

Patriots unlikely to place franchise tag on Trey Flowers

The New England Patriots have tough decisions ahead, and tagging Trey Flowers appears unlikely to happen, according to a source.

New England is the Super Bowl champ (again), but there’s no rest for he who wears the crown.

With free agency less than a month away, the Patriots have to choose whether they want to utilize the franchise tag on kicker Stephen Gostkowski, tackle Trent Brown or defensive lineman Trey Flowers. The third option is the most unlikely, a source has told FanSided.

Flowers, 25, would be the most costly of the group. While the tag prices haven’t been officially set, the approximate value of tagging Flowers would be $18.65 million. For Brown, the number drops to $15.28M while Gostkowski costs only $5.16M. Should the salary cap be locked in at $190 million, the Patriots have around $15.77 million in space. While releasing tight end Dwayne Allen to save $7.3 million appears obvious, Flowers’ tag would still be a hefty price to pay.

This is especially true for a team not typically inclined to use the tag. Since 2013, Gostkowski is the only player New England has used the designation for.

While letting Flowers hit the open market would be a dangerous game, the Patriots could still retain him. Two years ago, New England watched linebacker Dont’a Hightower enter free agency before eventually re-signing him to a four-year, $35 million deal with $19 million guaranteed. A similar situation could play out with Flowers, as a long-term contract would lower his initial cap hit, allowing him to fit into the framework of the Patriots’ cap.

The deadline to tag a player is March 5. Free agency doesn’t officially begin until March 13, although the tampering window opens on Monday, March 11.

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