Patriots Re-Sign LB Dont’a Hightower

Dont’a Hightower isn’t going anywhere. He’s re-signing with the Patriots, according to his agents (on Twitter). It’s a four-year, $43.5MM deal, according to Adam Schefter of (on Twitter). The pact includes $19MM guaranteed. "<strong

Hightower also had offers from the Steelers and Jets. The Jets, at one point, reportedly offered upwards of $12MM per year, but Hightower actually rejected that offer two days ago and never considered signing there (via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald on Twitter). As I tweeted earlier today, that’s not a surprise. Few expected Hightower to ultimately leave the defending champs and all of his suitors seemed dubious about his openness to sign elsewhere.

Hightower was reportedly seeking around $12MM per year and the Patriots were rumored to be offering something in the $10MM/year range for the last few weeks. Based on what we know, it sounds like the Pats more or less met him in the middle – he gets an average annual value of $10.875MM with a decent amount in guarantees. Of course, we won’t have a full understanding of the deal until we know what the cashflow is like. If the majority of the guaranteed cash comes to the linebacker in the first two seasons, then we’ll chalk this up as a solid deal for Hightower and his agents at SportsTrust.

Regardless of the payout, Hightower automatically wins on two fronts. First, he re-signed with the Patriots and they were far and away his preferred landing spot. Secondly, he only signed for four years, so he’ll still be able to hit free agency before his age-31 season. If he continues to hold his position as the best non-rush linebacker in the NFL, he should be able to cash in again before the 2021 campaign.

Hightower finished the 2016 campaign with 65 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and one forced fumble in 13 games. Before the start of free agency, we listed him as the best available linebacker in our free agent positional rankings. After the first wave of free agency saw cornerback A.J. Bouye and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery come off the board, Hightower was far and away the best player left on the open market.

Hightower is now the second-highest paid true linebacker in the NFL, based on AAV. Only Luke Kuechly of the Panthers ($12.4MM) earns more than him per year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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68 comments on “Patriots Re-Sign LB Dont’a Hightower

  1. giantboy99

    Too bad Jaimie Collins didn’t do the same instead of shipping off to the Brownies for a few extra million $$$.

        • Stillers12

          I don’t understand what your point is here. Are you saying Collins should have signed with the Patriots when the Patriots weren’t going to re-sign him?


          Are you saying that a pro football player shouldn’t try to maximize his value when the getting is good?

          • giantboy99

            The Pats offered him somewhere in the neighborhood of $11 million and he signed for 12 …do you think he may have been better off resigning with the Pats?

          • Mack66

            The Patriots made him a fair market offer, around $11mm – but he wanted to be greedy and asked for to much. So he was shipped to the Browns and ended up signing for $12.5mm

            Was it really worth $1.5mm/year to suffer in Cleveland?

            It’s like none of these guys think about fair market value and/or have someone assess their value before they make demands or hit FA.

  2. madmanTX

    What a clown, wasting other teams’ time just to make the Patsies jealous.

    • Hannibal8us

      Yea how dare he use other teams as leverage to earn more money, he should have just taken the minimum and played for the love of the game. -.-

    • John Murray

      Lol…another fan who thinks filming another team’s practice (which just about everybody does) or ball inflation somehow has elevated the Patriots miles above everyone else. Thanks for the expression of jealousy, foo.

      • BravesBoi

        No, it’s not something just about every team does. It’s something literally every team does and it’s completely legal.

        • Stillers12

          Oh, so that’s why the NFL fined the coach and team and destroyed all the evidence. I forgot they did that for every team.

          • BravesBoi

            There was no evidence for the other teams because the NFL didn’t try to penalize them for it. They just try to hold back winners, but we keep winning. Have fun hating, it’s good to be winning.

      • Stillers12

        Yup, a fine for coach and owner and loss of a first round draft pick while the NFL destroys all the evidence is exactly what all the other teams got for doing the same exact thing. You are absolutely correct.


      Haha….that’s the freaking best. They are like the Barry Bonds of football.

  3. Cleveland - City of Losers

    He didn’t want to lose in New York and everyone knows Pittsburgh absolutely never pays for an outside FA. Patriots probably offered considerably more than Steelers. I don’t blame him for not wanting to be a Jet. Why go from being a champ to losing all the time? He must have talked to Collins – and Collins let him know to stay in NE if he can. Collins probably crying everyday living in this cesspool of a city.

    • BravesBoi

      Collins chose to willfully sign an extension with the Browns. Obviously it isn’t that bad. He’s probably crying (out of joy) all the way to the bank.

  4. Carlos Hyde patriots

    Pats probably told him, go find out what the market it is for your services and we’ll see how close we are to market value. He didn’t waste anyone’s time. Teams were wary of setting the market too high and having to pay it and also setting the market too low and having him resign with the pats at below market. don’t you think there were a bunch of teams willing to sign him given a fair deal? Dont’a was basically a RFA without the tender/designation because teams knew the pats would match most fair deals and nobody wants to overpay if they don’t have to, except the jets. So a lot of teams stayed away

  5. crazysull

    I can finally relax. I know we could still lose Butler but replacing him is easier than if we had to replace Hightower or of Hightower left and we had to replace both. Even if we lose Butler we still have a good secondary but if we lost Hightower out LBs would be Mccleon Van Noy Nickovitch and Roberts, that isn’t good at all but Hightower brings stability to the position and I say we are done with the big moves for now unless we decide to move Jimmy G or move Butler, imagine if the saints were stupid enough to sign Butler and give us the 11th pick and we trade Jimmy G to the Browns for the 12th pick and some more we could draft a Lb and a CB or a RB with any of those picks that would be crazy but who knows, all I can say is that the pats are going to have at least one pick in the first round(from a Butler trade should get the 32 pick back and or a Jimmy G trade which should get us an early 1st rounder) where we should focus on CB and LB since we signed Burked so I think our three headed RB attack is set for this season and wait to be upgraded until next season or maybe at the trade deadline depending on how things are going. Either way it is a great day to be a Pats fan

    • Beyond_Max_Power

      no team is giving a first round pick for Jimmy G. Yes my Eagles robbed the Vikings of a first and fourth, but they had a good shot at getting to the Superbowl and lost their starter two weeks before the season started. buying a starter that close to the season will cost far more. I like Jimmy G, could get a second and a late round pick. no team is desperate enough to pay a first rounder for a guy who has what, 60 attempts in his career?

      NE should trade him no doubt, but let’s be real about his worth.

      • Mack66

        As far as I’ve seen, everyone is being real about his worth. This is a QB lacking class. The hype is there for JimmyG, and it’s not unrealistic to think that 1st/2nd picks for him are what he’ll bring.

      • BravesBoi

        Dude, he would absolutely get a 1st rounder IF he was traded. You are the one that isn’t being real about his worth. And we would probably also get a mid round pick as well

  6. toby312

    You knew he wasn’t leaving , other teams as a leverage play really didn’t fail it’s just pats knew his hand and called his bluff

  7. Thronson5

    The Pats are having themselves a good offseason. The rich get richer. I wonder if they end up releasing Amendola.

  8. browns

    Hilarious. On the other article about the Jets offering more money, Pats fans were dumping on Hightower, saying he was easily replaceable, not all that great anyway, etc and on and on. Now, all of a sudden, he’s back to being the greatest LB alive.

    • mack66

      Everyone is replaceable. Some easier than others. But based on the demand, or lack of, of his skill set – he would be replaceable pretty easily.

      He’s far from the greatest. But he’s not equal to the Browns either.

      • browns

        You think insulting the Browns is somehow going to upset me? I don’t really care. It’s a game, I don’t derive my existence from a football team, what they do on the field, who they sign in free agency. You might think about giving that a try.

    • Brustatherooster

      Some Pats fans maybe, certainly not all. What is it with people in forums like this making blanket statements including an entire fan base when it’s a few bad apples that say and act stupid?
      Know any Jets fans that say things that make you cringe?

      • browns

        First, I said “Pats fans were dumping on Hightower”, not “ALL Pats fans were dumping on Hightower”, so you can stuff that blanket statement garbage back where you got it.

        Second, what did I say that wasn’t true? Pats fans were the ones ripping Hightower in that other article. Not Jets fans, not Browns fans, not Titans fans. Pats fans. So what was said that was incorrect?

        Third, every teams’ fans say and do stupid things. They just aren’t doing them on here. Pats fans are. And again, not ALL Pats fans, so don’t get them all in a bunch.

        • BravesBoi

          You don’t have to say ALL pats fans. You didn’t say SOME pats fans, so one could infer that you meant all of them. So his blanket statement was correct.

          • browns

            Wrong again. The only way it is a blanket statement is if I would have said “all Pats fans”. Without “all” attached, the only inference to be made is “some”. Any other inference is incorrect and that’s on you. It’s not that difficult to understand. Wait, maybe it is. I forgot who I was dealing with.

          • browns

            Not to mention the fact that I was speaking about Pats fans who commenting on a SPECIFIC article on a SPECIFIC site. Drawing an inference that I was speaking about all Pats fans shows your lack of intelligence when I was clearly talking about those Pats fans who were commenting on ONE SPECIFIC ARTICLE.

            See what happens when you get so defensive and have to come charging in to defend your beloved Pats against any sort of criticism? You make yourself look like even more of a fool.

    • browns

      It’s just too bad that a certain segment of people make these comment sections look and feel like the comment sections on news and political sites, where if you don’t agree with a certain viewpoint and dare disagree or criticize, they come out of the woodwork to attack. Sad and pathetic, really.

  9. Stillers12

    There is no loyalty from Pats fans. We will see how many of them stick around after Brady is gone.

    • Brustatherooster

      You got real hate for the Patriots and their fans.
      It’s a game not life or death. Get over it and go enjoy life. It short enough without spending it hating.

    • davidp626

      Most of us were watching the team when the Grogans, Easons, and Miller’s were QB, and we will be there for them after Brady.


    Eat yoyr heart out… Lol….you guys got your ass handed to you and had to do a scary comeback…. Your not that good

    • BravesBoi

      Guess what idiot. We MADE the comeback. Are you saying that last year the Cavs weren’t really the better team because they had to comeback against the warriors. Making the comeback just means we are even better because we didn’t play at our best or even close for 3 quarters of the game, and we still won. Pretty darn good if you ask me. Or anybody else really.

    • BravesBoi

      When was the last time the steelers won anything meaningful? Or even beat the Pats?

    • Brustatherooster

      Did you come up with that all by yourself or did someone help you.
      Steelers better? Than the Patriots? I must be missing something. Because I’m pretty sure the Patriots beat the Steelers in the AFC Championship.

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