Dont’a Hightower has been the Patriots linebacker for five years. That could be changing soon. Hightower was among many New England Patriots players to enter free agency this off-season.
Since he hit the market, there has been a lot of league interest in him. Some of those teams include the New York Jets and the Steelers. The New York Jets have made extra effort. It is reported that they have even thrown him an offer.
It is believed the Jets have offered between $12 million and $13 million per season to Hightower. That could be a hard number for the Patriots or Steelers to match. New York has been one of the more quiet teams this off-season.
They have not made many big changes to their team. One of their first big changes could potentially involve acquiring Hightower. He may not come as an inexpensive buy, but if they are willing to pay over a dozen million, they may have some extra salary cap space to work with.
Dont’a Hightower is a gifted player, and if the Jets do sign him, he would be one of the highest paid inside linebackers around. The only one that compares in pay is Panthers’ Luke Kuechly, who currently is the highest paid making $12.3 million a year, according to the New York Post.
To add Hightower to their team, it could be a small price to pay for the Jets. Signing with New York or the Steelers are not his only options. There are a lot of cards on the table. He could also resign with the New England Patriots. At the end of the day, it will be his decision. He is expected to decide what team he will play for by the end of today.
There have been some good indicators that he has not been made a large offer by the Patriots. He visited the Jets on Monday, leaving without a deal, and then the Steelers on Tuesday. The fact that he is touring in his free agency could be a sign that the Patriots have not pitched him the correct number.
The time may be crunching for New England. It may be smart for them to keep Hightower on their team at all costs. He is coming off a Pro Bowl season. There were a lot of big plays made in the Patriots 25 point comeback Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons, but Hightower made one of the biggest. He forced a fumble from Matt Ryan for a sack.
There could be much more where that came from if the Patriots resign him. Tom Brady and the Patriots already have their eyes set on another championship. Breaking up their championship team may not be the best approach towards completing that.
Should the Patriots pay the price for Dont’a Hightower? Who Will Hightower sign with? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Commentary by Cody Macleod