The New England Patriots have lost two key members of their 2018 championship team to free agency, according to reports from ESPN.
Defensive end Trey Flowers has agreed to a five-year deal worth $16-17 million with the Detroit Lions, reuniting with Coach Matt Patricia, New England’s former defensive coordinator.
Flowers, 25, a fourth-round pick by New England in the 2015 draft, led the Patriots in sacks (7.5), quarterback hits (21) and forced fumbles (three) last season.
He missed one game with an injury last year, against, coincidentally, Detroit.
Earlier on Monday, ESPN reported that offensive tackle Trent Brown is leaving the Patriots for the Oakland Raiders, where he will become the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL.
The Patriots acquired Brown in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers last April. Brown, who turns 26 in April, started every game at left tackle for the Patriots last season.
His four-year deal with Oakland is for $66 million, with $36.75 million guaranteed, ESPN reported.
Brown’s departure marks the second consecutive year that the Patriots have lost their starting left tackle to free agency. Last year, Nate Soldier signed a four-year, $62 million contract with the New York Giants.
Adding Flowers fills a big need for the Lions, who were in need of a rush end to potentially replace Ziggy Ansah.
Brown’s contract will be one of the richest ever for an offensive lineman.
Brown, 25, entered the league as a seventh-round pick of the 49ers in 2015….