The Washington Football Team is bringing back a familiar face.
Washington plans to acquire guard Ereck Flowers from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a swap of late-round picks, a source with knowledge of the situation said. Flowers, 27, started 16 games for Washington in 2019. The former first-rounder played well and earned a three-year, $30 million contract from the Dolphins last offseason.
Once labeled a draft bust with the New York Giants, Flowers salvaged his career by switching from left tackle to guard upon signing a one-year, $4 million contract with Washington in 2019. Flowers credited former offensive line coach Bill Callahan for helping him adjust, and Callahan praised the way Flowers adapted.
According to Pro Football Focus, Flowers allowed just one sack that season in 588 pass-blocking snaps. “He’s come a long way in a concise period,” Callahan said in October 2019. “To his credit, he brings a lot of versatility, physicality, brings a lot of size at the position. … He gives you that dimension of pass protection where he’s wide, he’s square, he’s long, he’s got range, and he’s getting more of a feel for that position playing it quicker and faster.”
The addition is an interesting wrinkle to Washington’s offensive line. He’ll likely compete with veteran Wes Schweitzer, who Washington signed as Flowers’ replacement, for the starting job. Schweitzer started 13 games in 2020, with most of them coming at left guard. The team gave All-Pro Brandon Scherff a second straight franchise tag, a one-year contract worth $18 million.
Flowers is set to make nearly $9 million in 2021, all of which is fully guaranteed. He carries a base salary of almost $10 million for the following year, though it does not contain any guaranteed money.
This week, Washington has been linked to various offensive linemen in the first round with the NFL draft. Despite trading for Flowers, the team could use an upgrade at left tackle. There are several prospects — Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw, USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker — which would make sense at No. 19, if available.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, will save $8 million by trading Flowers, according to Over The Cap. Flowers appeared in 14 games for Miami, starting all of them. Washington, of course, has experienced a ton of turnover since Flowers last played for the franchise. After the 2019 season, Washington hired coach Ron Rivera and brought in a new staff. The team has also spent the last two offseasons restructuring its front office, hiring Martin Mayhew as general manager and Marty Hurney as a senior executive.
Rivera and his staff, however, were reportedly high on Flowers coming out of the draft in 2015. According to the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers sent offensive line coach John Matsko — now in Washington in the same role — to Miami to have dinner with Flowers and work him out privately.
Flowers, though, were drafted much earlier than when the Panthers were on the board at No. 25 — going ninth overall to the Giants. In New York, Flowers’ career did not go as planned. He struggled particularly in pass protection, committed too many penalties, and ultimately was benched before the Giants released him in October 2018. He spent the rest of that season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
But Flowers finally found success at the NFL level when he switched to guard. He helped solidify a position that Washington struggled to fill in past seasons, with then-starter Shawn Lauvao often missing time because of injuries. “I applaud him for his effort, what he’s done, he’s continuing to work hard,” Callahan said. “The thing that I love about him is he’s conscientious, he’s dependable, he’s a reliable guy, he loves football, got a passion for the game, and he has a thirst for knowledge and getting better every day. That’s what I really enjoy about him.”