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Indianapolis — New England Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers, expected to be one of top names on the market when free agency opens later this month, is reportedly rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery, according to ESPN.
The surgery has been classified as a cleanup procedure and is not considered serious.
Flowers, 25, has appeared in 45 of 48 possible regular-season games the past three years. He missed a game last season with a concussion and two in 2017 with a rib injury.
This is also the second time Flowers has had surgery on his shoulder. He missed the majority of his entire rookie season in 2015, appearing in just one game due to a shoulder injury.
Football players get hurt, and often require surgery. That's part of the business, but it can add some hesitation when that player is about to command a long-term deal worth north of $15 million per season.
Given the positional need, and coach Matt Patricia's familiarity with Flowers, the Detroit Lions are expected to be among the teams that show interest this offseason. The team is working with more than $30 million in cap space if they are serious about the pursuit.
In Detroit, Flowers would effectively take the roster spot and cap space of Ziggy Ansah, who is also recovering from shoulder surgery.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn hasn't ruled out bringing Ansah back, despite three consecutive seasons of durability concerns. He came into the league with a shoulder issue that required surgery and hurt it twice more this season before landing on injured reserve. Additional, he's dealt with a concussion, ankle and knee issues, with the latter also requiring surgery.
This weekend, the Lions re-signed Romeo Okwara, the team's sack leader from a season ago, but still need more help on the edge. The team's 43 sacks were tied for the 11th most in the NFL, but, according to Football Outsiders, the Lions ranked bottom-five in pressure rate.