Patriots influence across NFL creates challenge for team in free agency
/ Patriots

By Mike ReissESPN Staff Writer

FOXBOROUGH. Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts and notes around the New England Patriots and NFL:

1. With more coaches and general managers across the NFL who have strong Patriots ties, Bill Belichick has said in the past that is has helped facilitate trades, in part because there is an inherent trust and understanding in those conversations.

While that has been positive, such as when Belichick and his former director of college scouting Bob Quinn struck a deal that brought linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Detroit to New England in 2016, there is a negative side to it, too. With such Patriots-specific influence across the NFL, it means more competition for the same types of players on the open market in free agency.

Consider:

The Patriots would have liked to re-sign defensive end Trey Flowers, but the Lions -- with head coach Matt Patricia running a New England-based defense and seeing Flowers' value in the scheme -- upped the bidding to $18 million per season. That was beyond the level New England was willing to go.

What you need to know about the New England Patriots:

» Patriots' free-agent signings
» Team needs: WR, TE, DT
» Tracker: Latest moves around NFL
» Full top 100 free-agent ranking<img alt="Insider" border="0" height="11" src="http://assets.espn.go.com/icons/in.gif"...



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