- Hightower receives a four-year, $43.5 million contract with $19 million guaranteed, according to Ian Rapoport.
Hightower’s agency has already confirmed the news.
— SportsTrust Advisors (@_SportsTrust) March 15, 2017
The Steelers and Jets both had serious interest in Hightower, but it was clear that the most likely scenario all along was a return to New England.
Hightower, 26, is a former first-round pick of the Patriots back in 2012. He played out his rookie contract before the Patriots picked up his fifth-year option last year and was testing the open market as an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.
In 2016, Hightower appeared in 13 games for the Patriots and recorded 65 tackles, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble, two pass defenses and a safety. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 13 linebacker out of 87 qualifying players.
We had him featured in our Top 50 Available Free Agents list.