The 2022 regular season will open where the 2021 regular season closed for the New England Patriots.
Familiarity remains at Hard Rock Stadium. But it has been subject to turnover since January. Aside from a coaching staff that includes Wes Welker, Josh Boyer, Steve Gregory and Tyrone McKenzie, the Miami Dolphins stand with six former Patriots between the active roster, practice squad and injured reserve.
And four players currently in New England’s fold were once on the other side of the AFC East, too.
Here’s a glance through those connections heading into Sunday’s 1 p.m. ET kickoff.
Trey Flowers, linebacker — Flowers headed to Miami Gardens at the end of August for a workout that gave way to a deal. The two-time Super Bowl champion had been released by the Detroit Lions at the start of the league year after signing a five-year, $90 million pact that included $56 million guaranteed back in 2019. Taken in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL draft at No. 101 overall, Flowers totaled 26.5 sacks, 203 tackles, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries between his regular seasons and postseasons with the Patriots. A place on the franchise’s All-Decade team followed for the 29-year-old off the edge.
Elandon Roberts, linebacker — A Patriots captain by 2019 and a Dolphins captain by 2020, Roberts has since re-signed in consecutive offseasons. The downhill linebacker out of Morgan State and Houston amassed 206 tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery with New England after landing in the sixth round of the 2016 draft. And as a fullback, he scored a touchdown versus Miami during his stay. Now 28, Roberts has started 26 of his 30 contests for the Dolphins. He posted a career-high 83 tackles last year to go with one sack, a pair of forced fumbles and an interception that became an 85-yard touchdown.
Calvin Munson, linebacker — Miami placed Munson on injured reserve as the active roster reduced from 80 to 53, ending his campaign. The Dolphins had claimed the 27-year-old linebacker off waivers from the Patriots last December. The move marked a return for Munson, who had previously agreed to join Miami’s roster off New England’s practice squad late in 2019. He was also part of the opposite transaction last October and left Miami’s practice squad for New England’s roster. The San Diego State product originally entered the league as an undrafted rookie with the New York Giants in 2017. He earned Super Bowl LIII ring while on the Patriots’ scout team.
Keion Crossen, cornerback — In the seventh round of the 2018 draft, the Patriots filled out the Western Carolina Catamount’s name at No. 243 overall. Crossen cracked the 53-man roster as a rookie and remained through Super Bowl LIII before being traded to the Houston Texans the following Labor Day weekend. He was traded to the New York Giants in 2021 and made his way back to the AFC East on a three-year deal this March. The 26-year-old corner stands with 86 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery through 59 career games. He has accrued 938 snaps snaps on special teams.
Justin Bethel, cornerback — The three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro on special teams signed with the Dolphins as the calendar turned to September after being released by New England at the 53-man deadline. Bethel appeared in 42 games to log 902 snaps in the kicking game dating back to his 2019 arrival. His tenure included 26 tackles to go with two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one pass deflection. Since entering the NFL in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of Presbyterian, Bethel has also been a member of the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens.
Eric Rowe, safety — The veteran defensive back transitioned from cornerback to safety en route to reaching a three-year, $18 million extension with Miami in 2020. By then, Rowe had eclipsed 1,000 snaps in the secondary and returned an interception for a touchdown versus the Patriots. Part of two Super Bowl wins with New England after being acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles for a conditional draft choice in 2016, Rowe has since appeared in 49 games for Miami. The 29-year-old out of Utah was originally a second-round pick in 2015. He made four starts last season in the process of tallying 71 tackles and a trio of forced fumbles.
DeVante Parker, wide receiver — In April, Miami acquired a 2023 third-rounder from New England in exchange for No. 158 overall and Parker. “We are thankful for everything he has given this organization over the past seven seasons and wish him continued success,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said of the trade in a statement. “He will always be an important piece of our franchise history.” Parker caught 338 passes for 4,727 yards and 24 touchdowns after landing in the first round of the 2015 draft. Over the course of 93 games and 64 starts, the Louisville product finished eighth in Dolphins history in receptions and sixth in receiving yards. He set career highs with 128 targets, 72 catches, 1,202 yards and nine trips to the end zone in 2019.
Davon Godchaux, defensive tackle — As training camp got underway in July, so did a two-year, $20.8 million extension featuring $17.85 million guaranteed at signing for Godchaux. “Well, he’s one of the best defensive linemen in the league,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said at the time. The 27-year-old Godchaux made 16 starts for New England after signing as a free agent last March. He tallied 65 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble while playing 59 percent of the defensive downs. Godchaux previously started 42 of his 52 games for Miami after being selected in the fifth round back in 2017. The LSU product’s final season with the organization that drafted him ended on injured reserve due to a torn biceps.
Raekwon McMillan, linebacker — McMillan agreed to terms with New England as free agency opened last spring. A torn ACL sent the 2014 Ohio State national champion to injured reserve in the subsequent months, but a one-year extension surfaced soon after. McMillan, 26, originally entered the league with the Dolphins at pick No. 54 overall in the 2017 draft. After missing his rookie season with an ACL tear, the linebacker made 28 starts over the next two seasons before being traded to the Las Vegas Raiders. McMillan was on the field for 1,346 defensive snaps during his Miami stay. He had a hand in 177 tackles, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery over that span.
Lynn Bowden Jr., wide receiver — The final spot on New England’s initial practice squad of 2022 went to a Paul Hornung Award winner who has aligned in several since his first-team All-American run at Kentucky. Bowden, who served as a returner, rusher, receiver, passer as a Wildcat, was selected by Las Vegas in the third round of the 2020 draft. He would be traded to Miami before his rookie regular season began and spent all of last year on injured reserve. In between came 10 appearances for Bowden as a Dolphin. Those appearances brought 28 receptions for 211 yards as well as a combined 64 yards on the ground and through the air. The 24-year-old was waived by Miami in August after scoring two touchdowns in exhibition action.