As the Patriots have become accustomed to allowing productive players from the previous year walk free via free agency or trade, see Chandler Jones, maybe New England feels it can afford to lose the 25-year-old, but that could be a mistake.
Flowers has never been to a Pro Bowl, and he has just 21 sacks since coming into the league as a fourth-round pick in 2015. He lacks big-time numbers, and he doesn't have a particularly high profile in a New England environment that makes it hard to stand out consistently within an ever-changing defense, but the 6'2", 265-pound Flowers improved markedly in each of his first four NFL seasons.
Flowers is a significantly stronger pass-rusher than his sack numbers indicate. He's become a constantly disruptive presence on the edge, but his tremendous tackling and his prowess defending the run enable the Patriots to kick him inside or flex him outside regardless of the down or distance.
His grades from Pro Football Focus have risen every year, and his 89.7 mark in 2018 ranked sixth among qualified pass-rushers. Even though Flowers was on the field for just 70.2 percent of New England's defensive snaps, only L.J Ford of the Steelers had more total pressures among edge defenders, per PFF's Michael Renner.