Dont’a Hightower has made a decision; he is re-signing with the Patriots for 4 years, $43.5 million, $19 million guarantee deal. The decision came today as one of the best LBs in free agency is taken off the market. Hightower had the decision to either join the Jets or the Steelers, but Hightower felt comfortable re-joining the Patriots.
This signing comes to the surprise of no one, for weeks there were reports saying that Hightower was leaning on returning to New England the whole time. He was just shopping around to see what his options were. He was expecting a big contract; roughly around $16-18 million a year kind of deal, similar to the Jamie Collins deal that Cleveland gave him. Unfortunately that never happened; the Jets offered him $12 million a year, while it is unclear how much the Steelers offered him.
The greatest part of this story was that Hightower rejected $12 million from the Jets to resign with the Patriots. Reason behind it could of been that the Jets scared him with every employee in that complex saying “Happy Birthday” to him, or the cupcakes they gave him for his birthday were a little creepy. The real reason (probably) was that the Jets are not Super Bowl contenders, something Hightower was looking for. The Jets are rebuilding their roster, cutting players left and right, trying to find a franchise QB that doesn’t throw a pick every game, and trying to rebuild a defense that desperately needs it. The Jets were never “in contention” to sign Hightower, they just wanted to steal a Patriot away from us.
As for the Steelers, they need a few pieces to make a Super Bowl run. The Steelers offense is lethal and really doesn’t need much work; the defense however is a mess. Their secondary is equivalent to a high school secondary and their only pass rusher is James Harrison, who’s close to his 40’s. They targeted Hightower because they needed a outside LB and could be used as a pass rusher as well. What the Steelers offered Hightower is a mystery, and it could of been the deciding factor for him when choosing a team. They did warn him that if he got on a plane and left that the deal was off; which he may of thought was a threat.
With Hightower back it makes this defense better than it was last year, and the one missing piece is Malcolm Butler, who visits the Saints tomorrow to discuss contract/trade.