- 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.”
As of now, the Titans appear to be the other team in the mix, but Paul Kuharsky mentioned last night that it would be wise to “tamp down expectations” of them signing Hightower.
The Dolphins were also mentioned as a potential suitor for Hightower, but they elected to sign former Steelers LB Lawrence Timmons to a contract on Friday, which likely removed them from the running.
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.