Bedard: If Michael Bennett’s first day was any indication, Patriots won’t miss Trey Flowers much

(Adam Richins for BSJ)

FOXBOROUGH — We're still a long ways from the season, and things like health will certainly become a factor when all is said and done, but after catching a glimpse of Michael Bennett during a limited appearance in his first Patriots training camp practice, it seems like Trey Flowers might just be Nate Soldier-ed or Malcolm Butler-ed.

You know what I mean. When both Solder and Butler became free agents last season, a sizable portion of the fanbase thought there was no way the Patriots were going to be able to overcome their losses in 2018. Then the Patriots traded for little-known tackle Trent Brown, and signed veteran Jason McCourty to help replace both. And, wouldn't you know it, the Patriots got better play from both players and their units at a fraction of the cost.

Bennett just might do the same in relation to Trey Flowers.

After a sellar final three seasons with the Patriots, Flowers, 26, received a five-year, $90-million contract from Matt Patricia and the Lions that included $50 million guaranteed. Flowers will make about $29 million in cash this season.

The Patriots reacted by trading a fifth-round pick to the Eagles in exchange for Bennett, 34. He received a two-year contract worth $16.75 million with $4 million guaranteed and it includes a team option for next season. Bennett will make $8.5 million in cash this year, and $16.75 million if he's around for a second season.

But the play — again, if healthy, the nine-year age difference could be huge — should not be discounted. It could be an upgrade in this system.

Bennett, who just got off a flight from Hawaii on Sunday morning, showed that in just a handful of meaningful snaps. Consider: