The New England Patriots are adding another weapon. The most recent Super Bowl champions have agreed to a four-year deal $43.5 million contract with Dont’a Hightower. According to NFL news, the linebacker will be receiving $19 million in guaranteed money in the deal with the Patriots.
Adam Schefter of ESPN and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com both reported the Hightower deal with the Patriots as well as the guaranteed money. Sports Trust Advisors, which is Hightower’s agency also confirmed the news on Twitter.
Dont’a Hightower had higher offer from NY Jets
According to other NFL news, Hightower also drew interest from the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets. The linebacker was playing in the last year of his rookie deal in New England, who paid him about $7.5 million last season.
The Steelers and Jets had the chance to steal the linebacker after Hightower visited Pittsburgh and New York. The latter even had an offer to Hightower but that offer was rescinded, according to other reports.
According to NFL rumors, New York was willing to give Hightower a higher salary than what the Patriots offered. But the 27-year-old linebacker wanted to return to the Tom Brady and Bill Bellichick’s Patriots, where he will have another chance to win a Super Bowl title.
Hightower rejoins a Patriots squad that was very active in the early part of the 2017 NFL offseason. New England got cornerback Stephen Gilmore via free agency and Brandin Cooks via a trade with the New Orleans Saints, the last two weeks.
Patriots’ defense stays atop with return of Hightower
Hightower’s claim to fame came in Super Bowl XLIX when he stopped Seattle Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch at the one-yard line. The play helped the Patriots win the Super Bowl that year.
Dont’a Hightower has played all his five years with the Patriots since being drafted as the 25th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Last season, Hightower played in 13 games and registered 65 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble. For his entire five year career, Hightower has registered 372 tackles, 17 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in the regular season. In the NFL playoffs, Hightower has registered 63 tackles, 1 sack and 1 interception.
The Patriots value Hightower despite his history of injuries. Except for one season, the linebacker has not played all 16 games in the regular season as he struggled with shoulder and knee injuries in his NFL career.