With four days to go before final roster cuts, the Bengals and Patriots have made a move.
The move likely means the Bengals didn’t plan to keep Flowers on their 53-man roster, and that the Patriots liked him and thought some other team would claim him on waivers before they could get him. As the defending champions, the Patriots are last in the waiver claim order, so they can only get a waived player if no other team wants him.
Flowers hasn’t done much on defense but is a solid special teams player, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick tends to like low-cost players who can help on special teams. Flowers is due a $690,000 salary on the final year of his rookie contract.
Trading away depth at linebacker looks risky for the Bengals right now, given that Vontaze Burfict is facing a potential five-game suspension. But undrafted rookie Hardy Nickerson Jr. has played well enough that he looks likely to make the team, and so the Bengals felt they could send Flowers to a team that’s willing to give something up for him.