Did Patriots make mistake by not placing franchise tag on Trey Flowers in order to get maximum value?


The Seahawks did well for themselves on Tuesday. 

After placing the franchise tag on defensive end Frank Clark, they traded him to the Chiefs and got back Kansas City’s first-round pick this year and second-round pick next year in return.

Trey Flowers, who is arguably a better player than Clark, will net the Patriots just a compensatory pick next year after he signed with the Lions in free agency.

It’s easy to look at this and say the Patriots made a mistake and should have franchised him and then looked to trade him, but the organization was in a different place when franchise tags needed to be executed.

New England was up against the salary cap and at that point Rob Gronkowski hadn’t retired, so there wasn’t all that much money to work with. Also, the deadline was well before free agency, so it wasn’t like they could go all-in on franchising Flowers, especially when the ultimate goal would be to trade him down the road.

The franchise tag number for this season with defensive ends was $17.1 million, so with the limited cap space at the time, it can be seen why the Patriots did not ultimately franchise Flowers, even if the ultimate goal was to trade him.

It’s also a risky move to make because what if a team didn’t follow through on a trade? The team wouldn’t want that number on its books for 2019.

So, while the move worked out for the Seahawks with Clark, the Patriots weren’t in the same position to try a maneuver like it.