Hightower Returns to Patriots on 4-Year Deal

Mar 16, 2017, 00:39
Hightower Returns to Patriots on 4-Year Deal

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans both exited meetings with Hightower convinced he will re-sign with the New England Patriots.

Turns out the best deal was offered by New England: Earlier today, the 27-year old re-signed with the team on a 4-year, $43.5 million contract that includes $19 million in guarantees.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that NY even offered him a contract earlier this week but withdrew their offer after he left the team facility without inking his name on the dotted line. He'd drawn interest from the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers. His suitors apparently believed that too. In the end, the Jets can not whiff on Hightower.

As the week progressed, it looked more and more likely Hightower would return to the Patriots.

The veteran linebacker has agreed to a four-year contract to remain with the Patriots after briefly testing the free-agent market, his agents at SportsTrust Advisors‏ announced Wednesday. It would not be the first time that a Patriot has abused the Steelers. After years of an inevitable Patriots division title, a potential signing like this could have some significant ripple effects. There are several quality inside linebacker free agents still available who will likely not cost almost as much as Hightower and may fit the Jets almost as well.

It's unclear where his cap number falls in 2017 among Patriots players, because the yearly breakdown of his contract have yet to be annoucned.

Dont'a Hightower spent more than six hours with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday.

Although the Patriots know what he can do on the field, they can only hope health issues don't limit him in the coming years. Hightower is among the best players in the National Football League against the run, an elite blitzer and has proven capable of making big plays in the passing game as well. In five seasons with the team, Hightower has helped them win two Super Bowls and he's an integral part of the team. The Steelers aren't out of it with Hightower.

In 2016, Hightower appeared in 13 games for the Patriots and recorded 65 tackles, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble, two pass defenses and a safety.