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Trey Flowers shares farewell message to Patriots after joining Lions in free agency

Read more: What losing Trey Flowers to the Lions means for the Patriots

NFL: Super Bowl LIII-Opening Night Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, reports broke that the New England Patriots will lose their number one free agent (a few hours after losing their number two free agent, Trent Brown): defensive edge Trey Flowers will sign a five-year deal with the Detroit Lions that will pay him between $16 and $17 million per year — a contract that makes the 25-year-old one of the highest paid defensive linemen in all of football.

Earlier today, Flowers confirmed the move by posting a farewell message to his Instagram account:

For the memories, for the lessons, for the relationships..for the opportunity..I thank you!! #forevergrateful

Flowers originally joined the Patriots as a fourth-round draft pick in 2015, and after basically redshirting during his rookie season grew into one of the best front-seven defenders in the NFL — a complete defender, stout against the run and disruptive against the pass. All in all, the Arkansas product appeared in 55 games for New England and registered 26.5 sacks while playing an integral on two Super Bowl-winning Patriots defenses.