Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower is unwilling to accept a pay cut this offseason, according to Doug Kyed of NESN.com. The Pats have yet to approach Hightower about a pay reduction, however, so it may be a moot point.
It has been speculation that Hightower could be a cap casualty due to his nearly $11MM cap hit and $7MM salary for the upcoming season. If released, Hightower knows that he would find a ripe market for his services with teams like the Lions and Dolphins in need of a middle linebacker. The Pats, meanwhile, would save $5.945MM and carry a dead money hit charge of $5MM.
Hightower, 29 in March, was healthy in 2018, which was a step up from his five-game campaign in 2017. However, his 48 tackles were the lowest total of any full season in his career. The advanced metrics were down on him, too. He graded out as just the No. 51 ranked linebacker in the NFL with a career-worst 63.7 mark. Along with the 48 tackles, Hightower had three tackles for loss, six quarterback hits, an interception, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery.
Hightower re-upped with the Patriots in 2017 on a four-year pact worth $35.5MM. He reportedly had a five-year deal worth $62.5MM on the table from the Jets, but opted to stay at home instead.
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