The New England Patriots are not expected to use the franchise tag on any player, making defensive end Trey Flowers one of the top free agents hitting the market, NBC Boston reported Tuesday.
ESPN later confirmed the report.
Flowers, 25, led the Super Bowl LIII champions in sacks for the third straight year with a career-high 7.5 in 2018.
The 6-foot-2, 265-pound Flowers played in 15 regular-season games and all three playoff games last season, missing one contest due to a concussion.
A fourth-round pick in 2015 out of Arkansas, Flowers has tallied 21.0 sacks, 164 tackles and five forced fumbles the past three seasons.
Draft Analyst reported last week that the Miami Dolphins are the front-runners to sign Flowers. Miami hired former Patriots defensive play-caller Brian Flores as their head coach last month.
New England could still negotiate a new deal with Flowers, but won’t have exclusive negotiating rights without the franchise tag.
Other Patriots who would become unrestricted free agents on March 13 without a tag include kicker Stephen Gostkowski, left tackle Trent Brown, cornerback Jason McCourty, wide receiver Chris Hogan, punter Ryan Allen and receiver/return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson.