The Washington Football Team is bringing back a familiar face.
Washington acquired guard Ereck Flowers on Tuesday 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 making the switch 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 very short period of time,” 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 Athletic reported that Miami will receive pick No. 244 while Washington gets back No. 258 as part of the deal. Both picks are in the seventh round.
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 also 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 — but as part of the trade, Washington will only be required to pay $3 million, with Miami still on the hook for the other $6 million, according to multiple reports. He carries a base salary of nearly $10 million for the following year, though it does not contain any guaranteed money.
With the NFL draft this week, Washington has been linked to various offensive linemen in the first round. Despite trading for Flowers, the team could use an upgrade at left tackle and there are a number of prospects — Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw, USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker — who would make sense at No. 19, if available.
The Dolphins will save $2 million by trading Flowers, according to Over The Cap. Flowers started 14 games for Miami.
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, ended up being 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.”
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.