Despite losing one of last year's starters at the position via free agency, Logan Ryan, the New England Patriots have a deep and talented cornerback group. Malcolm Butler and Eric Rowe will return as the top players on the depth chart while the team also added former Buffalo Bills first round draft pick Stephon Gilmore as a high-priced free agent.
Behind the three roster locks, roles are not as clearly distributed. Second-year players Cyrus Jones and Jonathan Jones have seen lots of practice reps during minicamp, while Justin Coleman served as the starting slot cornerback in 2015. Three undrafted rookies – D.J. Killings, Will Likely, Kenny Moore – are also part of the equation.
And according to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter, the team might add yet another body to the competition:
Former Chargers and Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers is visiting Arizona on Wednesday, per league source. Also been talking with the Patriots.
Flowers was released by the now-Los Angeles Chargers earlier this offseason after ending both the 2015 and the 2016 campaigns on injured reserve (knee, concussion). He originally entered the NFL as a second round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008 and grew into a very solid cornerback for the team. However, in the summer of 2014 and coming off his first Pro Bowl season, the Chiefs released Flowers due to schematic and financial issues.
The veteran joined Kansas City's AFC West rivals with whom he spent the next three years of his career. However, injuries plagued Flowers throughout his tenure with the Chargers. Consequently, the team released the 30-year old prior to the start of free agency. Since then, he has been on the open market as an unrestricted free agent.
How serious the Patriots' interest in Flowers is remains to be seen, especially considering that the team will likely not break the bank to bring him onboard. In New England, Flowers would add a veteran presence to a young cornerback group and might serve as insurance in the slot in case neither Cyrus Jones nor another player establishes himself as the top option in that role.
Still, the Patriots might only do their due diligence by talking to Flowers to keep an open dialogue in case they need an experienced emergency option at cornerback further down the line. If not signed by the Arizona Cardinals or a previously unreported team, Flowers would be a good player to provide just that.