dglobalnews.com Jets should do everything to sign Dont'a Hightower
Published: Thu, March 16, 2017
Sports | By Jeannette Edwards

Jets should do everything to sign Dont'a Hightower

Jets should do everything to sign Dont'a Hightower

In Hightower's five years that he has spent with New England he has been an integral part of their defense, racking up 17 sacks and getting 372 tackles. We'd say so. At least this was the expected outcome for most of the time, even with Hightower - a hero in the Patriots' past two Super Bowl victories - flirting with the rival New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers.

The deal is reported to be worth $43.5m with $19m guaranteed. Hightower left the Jets on Monday without a deal and went to begin talks with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday. His suitors apparently believed that too.

If indeed Dont'a Hightower returns to New England, the Patriots will once again benefit from allowing one of their top free agents to explore the market. All the while, Hightower's camp seemed to be leaking rumors of the Jets' offer.

Fifth-year pro Vince Williams leads the Steelers' in-house options at inside linebacker, and the team has several other players under contract who could see increased roles, including 2016 seventh-round pick Tyler Matakevich. One of those positions is at linebacker, and with the team unable to sign Hightower, they are now facing a position where they have little to no cushion at all four linebacker positions.

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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.

San Francisco leads the National Football League with almost $74 million in cap space, per an ESPN report, even after new general manager John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan brought in 14 free agents since taking over. However, he's a free agent and multiple teams have expressed interest in him. Reasonable minds may differ on what that price is; personally I think the Jets are better off for not signing Hightower at the price he was rumored to be asking for. After there were reports that the two sides were close on connecting on a long-term deal, ESPN Titans reporter Jon Robinson reported that Hightower has not even visited the Titans. If the Patriots can fix their relationship with him, there's no reason to believe that this team isn't the favorite to repeat as a Super Bowl champion in 2017.

Last season he finished with 65 tackles, 2.5 sacks and eight quarterback hits. With the team letting Malcolm Smith walk, the Raiders had - errrr... have - a pressing need for an insider backer who can play the run and pass equally as well.

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