New England Patriots Could Lose Malcolm Butler, Dont'a Hightower This Offseason

17 March, 2017, 01:03 | Author: Ora Austin
  • Jets tried to lure free agent Dont'a Hightower with cupcakes. 5 other ideas to convince free agents to sign in New York

Turns out that the Patriots played Dont'a Hightower's foray into free agency better than even the most ardent In Bill We Trust believers could have imagined. And the insane part is, there's probably more still to come.

It is a bit surprising to see Hightower get nearly $2 million less per year than Collins, though.

Hightower and the Steelers met on Tuesday, but no deal was finalized after the highly coveted linebacker left the team's camp early in the evening of the same day.

Essentially, the Patriots painted themselves into a corner in terms of their need at Hightower's middle linebacker spot.

If the Jets, who are in the midst of a total rebuild, do manage to sign Hightower, he would instantly transform the team's inside linebacking corps, slotting in nicely next to second-year Darron Lee, who had his moments as a rookie during New York's 5-11 campaign in 2016. Hightower will earn $10.9 million.

One of those players is Dont'a Hightower.

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Per The MMQB's Albert Breer, the Jets "pulled their offer after their meeting with [Hightower] concluded".

His return caps a stellar offseason for the season for the Patriots as they chase their third Super Bowl title in four seasons. The only domino remaining is that of Malcolm Butler. His 17.5 quarterback disruptions (2.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits, eight pressures) during the regular season were the fourth most on the team and almost three times more than any linebacker.

Losing Hightower would likely elevate Kyle Van Noy into a starting role. They've also signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore, defensive lineman Lawrence Guy and running back Rex Burkhead, traded for wide receiver Brandin Cooks, tight end Dwayne Allen and defensive end Kony Ealy, and re-signed defensive tackle Alan Branch and safety Duron Harmon.

The contract probably won't be as lucrative as he imagined at the start of free agency, but Hightower still will land an impressive deal.

Having Hightower back will once again make the Patriots one of the best defenses in the National Football League in 2017.

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