Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comThis past week the Kansas City Chiefs cut Brandon Flowers due to both salary cap and performance reasons. The Chiefs will save $14 million over the next two years by making the move and they will remove 2013’s 87th ranked corner per ProFootballFocus.
Since the Chiefs cut Flowers, NFL teams have been lining up to talk to the defensive back. The Falcons are “monitoring” Flowers status, the Vikings have made a call, and the Ravens might be a darkhorse candidate.
Could the Jets be interested in Brandon Flowers?
According to Erika Esola on June 14th, the Jets had shown some interest.
Yesterday, Seth Walder of the Daily News checked with a source and stated that the Jets had not been in touch.
The general consensus on Flowers is that he is decent in zone corner with some aggressive tendencies but is on the smaller side at 5’9″ and 187 pounds and might struggle if he needs to play press coverage extensively. Flowers excelled under Romeo Crennel, another 3-4 proponent who uses more zone schemes in the secondary.
Flowers played poorly last season in new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s defense. Until 2013, Flowers has been among the league’s top corners. Last year Flowers hit the wall last year under Sutton. Sutton served under Rex Ryan since 2009 and employed the press-man coverage that Jets fans are familiar with. In 2013, Flowers played 56% of his snaps from the slot, the most in his career and according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, he “didn’t like that.”
One argument that I’ve seen made against why the Jets should be interested in Flowers is that he faltered under Sutton. The argument goes that if Flowers couldn’t succeed in Sutton’s defense, why would Jets want him?
I’m sorry, but that argument is like asking a piece of marble if it wants to be sculpted by Michaelangelo or Michaelangelo’s former assistant who tucked one of Michaelangelo’s sketches under his arm on the way out the door.
If one stops to think about that argument, it makes no sense. Sutton is a fine coach, but not a strong defensive coordinator. Sutton was more implementer than schemer under Mangini and was a holdover with Ryan. Sutton basically took Rex Ryan’s playbook to Kansas City and tried to implement it … to much lesser effect than Ryan would have or could have.
The problem for the Jets is where they would use Flowers if they did sign him. He obviously doesn’t like playing in the slot. Could they guarantee him the ability to play on the perimeter? Could they convince him that they can use him well in the slot? In the Jets scheme it might be that Flowers is interior corner who could split time on the boundary. It would seem that the Jets have a number of players who fit that mold right now in Dimitri Patterson, Kyle Wilson, Darrin Walls, Ellis Lankster, Ras-I Dowling and Dexter McDougle. Flowers would certainly boost an already competitive and deep group of cornerbacks, but might not be the default CB2 to line up across from Dee Milliner for 16 games.
Concern about injuries would be the reason the team do what it takes to sign Flowers. With Milliner struggling with hamstring tightness in recent weeks and Dimitri Patterson, Ras-I Dowling and Dexter McDougle all having a history if injury woes, could the Jets interest in Flowers be a numbers game? With as much cap room as the Jets currently have, it’s not far-fetched.
Brandon Flowers is a skilled player and could push in for time somewhere between the Jets second and fourth cornerback spots. The Jets might not need to make a play for Flowers, but he comes to the team with familiarity of the playbook thanks to his year with Sutton. The Jets obviously think enough of him to have even entertained the idea of a trade for him, but now that he’s been cut, the team has no cap figures hanging over their head.
The Jets might have some interest, but it will come down to Flowers. He might get a better shake in a city where he has some ties to former Chiefs regimes. Scott Pioli is now in the Falcons front office and Romeo Crennel is in Houston as the coordinator. There are teams that might be able to promise Flowers more from a playing time and role perspective.