It’s not easy to get rid of a 300-plus-pound headache these days. It’s especially difficult when the final year of his rookie contract is guaranteed.
Flowers is owed $2.4 million, and the plan was to try him at right tackle after paying Nate Solder a record amount ($15.5 million per year) to make sure Flowers didn’t start on the left side again. Safety Landon Collins said last week on WFAN that this is why Flowers hasn’t attended the Giants’ voluntary offseason workout program. He’s upset that he’s no longer the starter at left tackle, even after three years of uneven play.
Collins said his cousin is friends with Flowers. That is how he knows. Flowers hasn’t returned Collins’ text message, the latest in a troubling line of events.
Granted, this is six degrees of Kevin Bacon-type stuff, but if true, the Giants need to move on and sever ties completely, even if it means they have to eat Flowers’ 2018 salary and absorb $4.6 million in dead money against this year's salary cap. At what point is this counterproductive to the program that coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman are trying to build? The attitude outweighs his on-field value.
Gettleman and Shurmur have preached all offseason about rebuilding the team’s culture. There’s no benefit to lugging a malcontent into this new era of Giants football.
Flowers already had his troubles in the past. His relationship with the rest of the offensive line (minus the already exiled Bobby Hart) was rocky at best. He wouldn’t heed the veterans' advice and wasn’t part of any of their team-building activities -- not even Secret Santa.
Then came the final week of the season. Flowers said he was injured and couldn’t play. More than a few people in the organization thought he threw in the towel early, regardless of his eventual denial.
There is so much wrong with this Flowers story that it seems almost impossible to make it right in New York. The Giants are likely better served without him on the roster.
Let’s begin with the fact that Flowers hasn’t played particularly well and now has elected to avoid the voluntary offseason workouts this spring. This is how it has unfolded even after the new head coach stated publicly how valuable it would be for everyone (including Odell Beckham Jr.) to attend. Flowers' decision is head-scratching, to the point that it clearly has irked the Giants’ brass.
"He's in Miami, and we're here. He decided not to come. He's an adult," Gettleman said during the draft. "He has the ability to make decisions on his own. This is a voluntary program, and he's decided to stay in Miami. If you want to know why he's not here, call him."
Or his new agent. Flowers recently hired high-powered agent Drew Rosenhaus to help with his future, whether it’s with the Giants or not. Rosenhaus has a good relationship with the Giants, so at least that can be viewed as a step in the right direction. Flowers’ father had been serving as his agent.
Flowers' not showing up this spring has been met with surprise. Flowers could’ve benefited from working with the team’s coaches as he tries to make the switch to right tackle. He also could be mending bridges and learning the team’s new offense. Instead, he's doing whatever he's doing in Florida.
Flowers still would’ve been the favorite to win a starting job if he had showed this spring. He’s hardly guaranteed the same if he lands elsewhere.
But right now, he remains a Giant, and it seems the team is holding out that last shred of hope that this can work. The Giants are being patient with Flowers and seem intent on seeing how he does at right tackle and in the locker room at training camp.
If it all goes wrong there, then the Giants will likely take the financial hit and move on this summer. In the meantime, they wait, until they can trade the allegedly disgruntled tackle or until he shows up.