According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the New England Patriots and Pro Bowl linebacker Dont'a Hightower have agreed on a deal. Hightower, who turned 27 five days ago, has spent his entire career with the Patriots and looks to be cementing himself now as one of the better players in the history of the franchise.
Furthermore, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Hightower has agreed on a four-year, $43.5 million deal with $19 million guaranteed. Reports indicated that the New York Jets were putting on a full-court press for the talented linebacker, as Jason Cole of Bleacher Report reported the team was offering Hightower at least $12 million per season. Simply put, I think Hightower cares more about winning than making a few million bucks more on a losing franchise.
In his five years in New England, Hightower has amassed 372 combined tackles and 17 sacks. The 6-foot-4, 270 pound Alabama product has been nothing short of a champion since he started playing football at the collegiate level. In four years at Alabama and five years in New England, Hightower has gone 110-24, which is good enough for a 82% winning percentage with four championships.
Hightower is getting older and his injury history is of great concern, but this is a fantastic deal. Hightower is an important key member of this defense and will man a linebacking core that would have been in a world of trouble without him. To be honest, I kind of feel bad for Hightower. The Patriots reportedly gave him a deal at ~$10 million per season prior to the start of the 2016 campaign, but he declined because he thought he could make much more. Well, unfortunately for the player, it is easy to conclude that the market did not progress like he thought it would.
This is another fantastic signing by Bill Belichick, as he took care of one of his own guys. The attention will now focus on Malcolm Butler, as he may jump ship to the New Orleans Saints. Stay tuned to Biased Boston Sports for continuing coverage of the Patriots offseason!