Patriots Will Not Tag Dont’a Hightower

The Patriots informed Dont’a Hightower they will not apply the franchise tag to him, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. This will allow the star linebacker to test the open market. "<strong

Hightower was willing to sign the franchise tag, but the Pats have opted against potentially paying him roughly $14.7MM for the 2017 campaign. It’s not 100% clear whether the Patriots have decided against the transition tag, but it doesn’t sound like they’ll be using that either. That tag would cost less but also wouldn’t entitle New England to draft pick compensation if Hightower signs elsewhere. Still, with plenty of cap space, the Patriots can likely match any offer Hightower scores on the open market.

Hightower clearly rates as the best linebacker available in free agency, even though non-rush linebackers typically do not get as much attention as their sack-compiling cohorts. After Hightower, Zach Brown, Kevin Minter, Perry Riley, and Lawrence Timmons represent some of the better LB options out there.

Hightower, 26, played in 13 games last season and racked up 65 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles, ranking as Pro Football Focus’ 12th-best linebacker among 87 qualifiers.

Hightower’s reps can begin speaking with teams on March 7th, when the legal tampering period begins. Starting on March 9th, free agents are allowed to sign with clubs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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16 comments on “Patriots Will Not Tag Dont’a Hightower

  1. adshadbolt

    Why on earth would they risk letting him go they already lost jones and Collins if they lose him too there defense will go down massively.

  2. crazysull

    Does this mean we are taging Logan Ryan? Hopefully it means that we will make use of this decision. If we ended up trading Colins and Jones for nothing will make me mad

  3. crazysull

    I think he enjoys playing for a winning team(not that the Raiders aren’t a winning team) but after winning 2 championships in 3 years in the first 3 years of his career I think he would want to stay with them. If not I will lose some respect of him and even more of the Pats because they let him leave

  4. WFG1

    We all know BB is stubborn but sometimes I think he is also bored by football because he’s very intelligent, so he needs to create new challenges for himself like letting talented players walk, drafting players way earlier than expected, and generally doing the opposite of what everyone expects him to do.

  5. Clark

    I’ll be heartbroken if he goes, he’s the heart of that D and teams will DEFINITELY offer him more than what the Pats could reasonably offer. 49ers for instance if they signed him and drafted Foster that LB core would be deadly

  6. Ramon Garciaparra

    Hightower is not the most durable player. He missed 3 or 4 games in each of the last four seasons and the Patriots won most of those games. Coach Bill values durability and he does not overpay because of a player’s reputation or draft status. The Patriots will not pay beyond what they believe is a player’s value because it will take away from their ability to be flexible in building a complete team. Hightower will be offered a fair contract but it may not be the most money. He has a decision to make. The Patriots will be fine either way. They will make adjustments in their personnel packages and they will use the 3rd round compensatory pick next year to build for the future. Last year they traded Chandler Jones to many objections and then used the compensation to draft two Super Bowl starters. If Hightower leaves, fans will despair but odds are next January the Patriots will be in the playoffs and playing solid defense.

  7. crazysull

    It wouldn’t be as bad if we didn’t trade Jones or Collins(not because we would still have them) but because we supposedly traded them so we were able to resign guys like Hightower and if that doesn’t happen I will have to start questing the choices the Pats have made. And I will be really mad if they chose to resign Bennett over Hightower. Maybe they want to tag Bennett and hopefully resign Hightower but if Bennett is back next year and Hightower isn’t I will have a problem

  8. President2032 David

    Your Welcome to Come to the Redskins we could really use you Dont’a Hightower

  9. Francisco

    Next man up…someone will overpay and Pats will still be in next AFC championship game. If the coach feels he is not worth certain dollar amount he won’t overpay. Five Super Bowls later I believe he is right.

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