Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that the Jets and Patriots appear to be the leading suitors for free agent LB Dont’a Hightower right now. However, La Canfora adds that other teams are monitoring the situation closely.
- Last night, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reported that at least one team involved in talks with Hightower is now convinced that he’ll end up returning to the Patriots.
- Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that the Patriots are still keeping “close tabs” on Hightower and are “very interested” in re-signing him.
- Meanwhile, Jeff Howe reports that Hightower wanted to assess his value on the open market and enjoy the process before presenting his best offer to the Patriots to give them the opportunity to counter. According to Howe, both the Patriots and Hightower “have never wavered in their desire to reunite.”
The Titans have been mentioned as a team to watch for Hightower, but there hasn’t been any recent buzz to suggest they’re a serious option for him.
The Dolphins have also come up as a potential landing spot also mentioned for Hightower, but they elected to sign former Steelers LB Lawrence Timmons to a contract on Friday, which likely removes them from the running, especially considering that Hightower will likely land a sizable contract in the end.
Hightower, 26, is a former first-round pick of the Patriots back in 2012. He’s played out his rookie contract before the Patriots picked up his fifth-year option last year.
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.