Source: Detroit Lions tell outside linebacker Trey Flowers he will be released next week

DETROIT -- The Lions have informed outside linebacker Trey Flowers that he will be released next week when the league year starts Wednesday, a source told ESPN.

The Detroit Free Press was the first to report the news.

In a tweet Thursday, Flowers wrote: "Truly grateful for the love and the lessons!!"

In 2019, the Lions made the two-time Super Bowl champion one of the richest defensive players in football with a $90 million deal over five years with $56 million guaranteed, but Flowers couldn't stay healthy over the past two seasons.

He was placed on the injured reserve list in the 2020 and 2021 seasons and had just 3.5 total sacks over that two-year span. He had seven sacks in his first season with the Lions when he played in 15 games.

That original deal was signed under former Lions coach Matt Patricia, who was familiar with Flowers from their time with the New England Patriots. The new regime, spearheaded by general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell is moving in a different direction.

Detroit's decision to release Flowers also clears at least $10 million in salary-cap space ahead of the free-agency period. Flowers had a cap hit of $23.2 million in 2022.

"In Trey, you're talking about the ultimate glue guy. The ultimate leader. You just love -- he's what we're all about in terms of grit and being just a football player," Holmes said of Flowers' future during his end of the season availability. "So, it was unfortunate when he had to deal with what he had to deal with. But again, those discussions are going to be for down the road."

Off the field, Flowers was the ultimate professional who was active in the Detroit community and was committed to criminal justice reform and spoke out against mass incarceration.

He was selected by the Patriots with the second pick in the fourth round (101st overall) of the 2015 NFL draft and had 21 sacks in four seasons in New England.