Ian Rapoport reports that free agent LB Dont’a Hightower has visited with the Jets and spent time with the Titans in recent days. However, both teams left their meetings with Hightower convinced that he’ll re-sign with the Patriots.
Yesterday, Jason La Canfora reported that the Jets were hosting Hightower for a visit that’s supposed to wrap up on Monday. La Canfora added that the Patriots are still “very interested” in Hightower with other teams monitoring the situation and there’s a “very strong” perception among other teams that he’ll end up re-signing with New England for $10 million per year.
Although, La Canfora doesn’t rule out the possibility that the Jets or another team could give him significantly more than $10 million annually in a long-term deal.
Signing Hightower away from New England is going to take a huge contract, but if they can put a gap between their offer and what he has from the Patriots, there’s at least a chance they could entice him to move on.
The Dolphins have also come up as teams to watch for Hightower, but recent reports have downplayed their level of interest at this point in time.
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 is now testing the open market as an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.
Hightower is bay far the best available players still available in this year’s free agent market and should be able to secure an impressive contract in the end.
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 have him featured in our Top 50 Available Free Agents list.