Dont'a Hightower signs four-year, $43.5 million contract with Patriots

Dont'a Hightower signs four-year, $43.5 million contract with Patriots

Hightower was reportedly seeking around $12 million per year.

After reportedly being treated to cupcakes from the Jets on his birthday and sitting down with the Steelers two days later, the free-agent linebacker has chose to return to the Patriots, his agent announced.

Dont'a Hightower, a key part of that squad, has made a decision to remain with the Patriors on a four-year, $43.5 million deal as reported by ESPN on Wednesday. Despite offering him the most money, the New York Jets are likely out of the running. The New England Patriots defensive co-captain from a year ago has visited and received interest from the Tennessee Titans and AFC East rival New York Jets over the weekend. That's the sort of impact that drove Hightower's value to elite heights - even if he didn't end up cashing in for the most by a linebacker all time. He was with the Jets Monday, and the Steelers Tuesday.

After being rebuffed by Hightower, it's not quite back to the drawing board, but it could be a return to the strategy that has served them well over the years.

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The Patriots, so far, have lost who they expected to lose in free agency.

Hightower has finished just one National Football League regular season, as he had knee issues in recent years. If they've offered that much, and he hasn't signed a contract, it tells you that he has little desire to play for them.

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. The two sides parted ways without a deal in place and one side might've left the meeting feeling duped. The Jets were said to have made a very strong offer for Hightower, but one that they withdrew when he finished his free agent visit without agreeing to a contract.

"That's one thing we're able to do that's a real big key around here, especially in the Patriot Way, is smart football", the linebacker explained, per Mark Farinella of the Sun Chronicle. Odds are, yes. It was the smart move, too, if Hightower truly wanted to stay with the Patriots.

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