The NFL free agency period got off to a hot start. Most notably, the Detroit Lions landed a top target in this year’s pool in defensive end Trey Flowers.

Trey Flowers is headed to the Detroit Lions, and he is going to get a mega contract. According to Ian Rapoport, the deal for Flowers is between $16-$17 million per year over the course of five seasons. While exact terms aren’t yet available, deal of that magnitude will make the former fourth-round pick out of Arkansas one of top-ten highest-paid defensive lineman in the league.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn had a plan heading into the start of free agency and acted quickly. Per Adam Schefter, Trey Flowers, a 25-year-old defensive end, set the market for this year’s edge rushers after four seasons with the New England Patriots.

Why Flowers is getting a big deal from the Lions

The signing reunites Flowers with former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Patricia, who took the head coaching job in Detroit one year ago, was with Flowers throughout his first three seasons in the league. Over the course of four seasons, Flowers had 25 sacks and 21 tackles-for-loss. While those box-score numbers won’t jump off the sheet, his all-around abilities as both a pass rusher and run stopper are what teams covet. The edge rusher position is arguably the most important position after quarterback, and the Lions are getting the man they coveted.

It also didn’t hurt that Flowers was also being pursued by the Miami Dolphins. With another team in the mix, it forced the Lions to up the ante and put more money on the table. The New York Jets were also reportedly interested, but the interest wasn’t mutual.

What can Flowers bring to the Lions?

Flowers fits the traditional 4-3 versatile lineman Patricia covets in his defense. While his 21 sacks over 45 contests will not wow you, keep in mind that Flowers has started just 37 of those games. New England also used him on the interior for much of 2016 and 2017 before giving him a full-time home as an edge defender in 2018.

In Detroit, Flowers will look to keep improving on passing downs. His 7.5 sacks in 2018 were a career high. According to Pro Football Focus, he was ranked 9th among all defensive ends in pass rush productivity (minimum 300 pass plays).

Flowers has numerous strengths, including versatility, leverage, hand placement, and more. Additionally, he is an elite run defender, something that is not easy to find in today’s NFL.

For a more in-depth look on Flowers, our own Shane Taylor broke down Flowers in the PFN Film Room.

What does signing Flowers mean for the Lions? 

With Detroit acquiring Flowers’ services, Quinn now has more flexibility at #8 overall in this year’s NFL Draft. While he could double dip at the position, cornerback, tight end and offensive line could all be targets. However, don’t dispute the possibility of a Montez Sweat opposite Flowers come Week One. Remember that Patricia is a defensive minded coach. He is working to build an elite defense that can win him games.

Flowers is in Detroit for the long haul. At only 25 years of age and a five-year deal, he could hit big on another payday in 2024. The impact he has on the NFC North is immense; Kirk Cousins, Aaron Rodgers, and Mitch Trubisky are all playmakers at the quarterback position in their own right. Quinn needed a strong presence at the position and has added a key piece for the foreseeable future.