Published: Thu, March 16, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Dont'a Hightower to re-sign with Patriots

Dont'a Hightower to re-sign with Patriots

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Dont'a Hightower has made a decision to return to the New England Patriots, agreeing to a four-year, $43.5 million deal, the star linebacker's agents announced Wednesday.

Hightower was the Patriots' most important free agent this offseason. The free agent linebacker formerly of the New England Patriots has been met with a colder than anticipated market.

Sure, the Pats generally aren't quite as dormant as teams like the Packers and Steelers are during the off-season, but their reputation is not one of freewheeling transactions in free agency.

Butler, 27, is recently linked to a move to the New Orleans Saints, as the cornerback is scheduled to visit the team on Thursday. They have been uncharacteristically aggressive over the past week, signing Stephon Gilmore to a monster deal and making a trade for Brandin Cooks. They wouldn't have brought him in (or made him cupcakes!) if they didn't.

Bouchette says that Hightower would strengthen the inside linebacker position, but they need help outside and at cornerback. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick nearly did it in 2007 but they lost Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants. Having a three-down inside linebacker gives them more flexibility.

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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.

Hightower spent his five National Football League seasons with the Patriots after being selected out of Alabama with the 25 pick in the 2012 draft.

The biggest question mark for Hightower moving forward is health. One source classified the process as "very early" as of Tuesday afternoon, signaling more time to negotiate. Even so, that may not be enough to lure Hightower away; after all, he has won two Super Bowls with the Patriots during his tenure.

There is a possibility that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are indeed retiring at season's end and they have nothing more to prove.

In a recent episode of ESPN First Take, Kellerman believes that Tom Brady is going to retire next year when he wins his sixth Super Bowl title.

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