Trey Flowers among Patriots trio not franchise tagged

A trio of starters from the New England Patriots will hit the open market when the NFL's new calendar year begins on March 13.

The Patriots did not use the franchise tag on defensive end Trey Flowers, kicker Stephen Gostkowski and offensive tackle Trent Brown by the Tuesday afternoon deadline, making each player eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. ESPN first reported the news.

Of the three, Flowers is likely to command plenty of attention given the premium placed on pass rushers around the league.

With DeMarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney, Dee Ford and Frank Clark all receiving the franchise tag from their respective teams, Flowers essentially finds himself at the top of the list of available pass rushers. He ranked No. 7 in the initial Top 101 NFL Free Agents of 2019 and sits at No. 3 in the current iteration.

Over the past three seasons, the 6-foot-2, 265-pound Flowers, who turns 26 in August, has totaled 21 sacks. He led the Patriots' defense in sacks in three straight seasons, and should be a welcome addition to any team.

Gostkowski, who has been with the Patriots since entering the league in 2006 as a fourth-round pick, has totaled 1,743 career regular-season points and a member of three Super Bowl-winning teams. He was a two-time All-Pro selection in 2008 and 2015, and has been named to four Pro Bowls.

Brown joined the Patriots in April 2018 via trade with the San Francisco 49ers and started all 16 games the past season.