While the New England Patriots bolstered their defensive line and their secondary over the course of free agency, the team did not address the linebacker position – arguably the unit's Achilles heel in 2017. To make matters worse, the team lost depth as Shea McClellin failed a physical and was subsequently released. However, the Patriots made a move to add to the group today.
According to his agent and via ESPN's Adam Schefter, the team re-signed linebacker Marquis Flowers:
Patriots keeping another of their own, re-signing LB Marquis Flowers on a 1-deal worth up to $2.55 million, per @seanstellato.
When the Patriots traded a 2018 seventh round draft pick to the Cincinnati Bengals to acquire Flowers’ services last year, the thought was that New England would get a player experienced on special teams but one that would provide limited upside on defense. During his first year with the team, the then-25-year old proved to be a solid addition not only in the kicking game, though.
Flowers’ season began as expected: The Arizona product saw most of his playing time on special teams over the Patriots’ first half of the year. As the season progressed, however, so did his defensive playing time. Flowers became a regular member of New England’s linebacker rotation next to defensive signal caller Kyle Van Noy over the final eight weeks of the regular season and into the playoffs and proved to be a solid player.
Overall, despite missing training camp, Flowers had a solid first year in the Patriots’ system and played 28.5% of the Patriots' defensive snaps as well as 45.2% on special teams. He finished the year with 4.5 sacks, 5 quarterback hits and 36 tackles on defense while adding a pair of stops on special teams tackles. And while re-signing Flowers may not be the sexiest deal, he is an important depth player for New England in two phases of the game.