New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, who appeared to irk general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur with his decision to skip the team’s offseason program, has reportedly returned to the facility where he’ll begin getting to know the new coaching staff and his new teammates.
Flowers, the Giants first-round draft pick in 2015, was reportedly upset by the team’s decision to sign veteran offensive lineman Nate Solder, who will take over at left tackle for the Giants this season. News of Flowers’ unhappiness was first revealed by teammate Landon Collins during a promotional interview for his upcoming charity softball game, the interview done with WFAN’s Boomer & Gio.
Former first-round pick Ereck Flowers, who has missed the Giants’ off-season program, returned to work and the teams’ training facility today, per source.
A trade is still an option, but for now, the Giants intend to play him at right tackle.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 14, 2018
Flowers, the ninth overall pick in his class, recently hired super-agent Drew Rosenhaus after the Giants declined to pick up the option year in his rookie deal which would have paid him the average of the top 10 players at his position.
Since joining the Giants, he has struggled to achieve consistency. In three seasons, he’s finished as the team leader in penalties and, per Pro Football Focus, as the team leader in total quarterback pressures.
Last season Flowers began to show signs of becoming the offensive tackle the team hoped he’d be. He cut down on his penalties to single digits (9) and posted his lowest total quarterback pressures (including sacks and hits), posting only 41—18 less than he posted the prior year.
After a sluggish start, Flowers strung together eight games without giving up a sack, allowing three hits and just 14 hurries over that period. But the bottom fell out for him toward the end of the season when he was credited with six hurries in the Week 15 game against Arizona. While part of that was likely due to to a scheme change in which Eli Manning got rid of the ball quickly, the same concept existed in 2016 as well when Flowers’ numbers weren’t as low.
Flowers was inactive for the Giants in the regular-season finale. According to the NFL Network, Flowers was benched by then interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo because he had “checked out” due to an attitude issue. However, both Flowers, who dealt with an ankle injury in the remaining weeks of the 2017 season, and Spagnuolo denied that report, saying the offensive tackle was inactive because of his injury.
Although attendance at the Giants offseason program remains voluntary, with a new coaching staff and general manager in place, it behooves players to make a regular appearance if circumstances permit, especially when those players are about to fight for a job, as Flowers will this summer if he remains on the roster.
Shurmur has said that Flowers will be in the mix at right tackle, where he’ll also face competition from Chad Wheeler, who took the reps at that spot during their voluntary minicamp held before the draft.
The Giants also reportedly tried to trade Flowers during the draft, finding no takes. They could still look to move him during the summer if they remain unconvinced that Flowers wants to be here; however, the Giants will likely wait to see what unfolds around the league as far as injuries, as perhaps that scenario might yield more of the type of return they would find acceptable.