The New England Patriots were recently able to re-sign linebacker Dont’a Hightower. What grade did they receive for the signing?
The busy offseason for the New England Patriots has continued with the re-signing of linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Re-signing Hightower was one of the most important things for the Patriots to accomplish this season, and they were able to achieve that.
Despite the Patriots not using the franchise tag on Hightower, they were still able to convince him to come back. The New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers both expressed interest in Hightower, but he eventually came back to New England.
As one of the best defensive players available this offseason, Hightower was going to come out of free agency with a nice contract. For the Patriots, the four-year, $43.5 million deal looks to be a solid number for Hightower.
Recently, Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus graded the Hightower signing. The grade of a B is certainly solid for the Patriots. Here’s what Monson said about the signing.
"Hightower was one of the top free agents on the market, but his unquestioned best fit is within the New England defense that has made him such a star. He has graded well in every facet of the game for three straight seasons and has been a significant supplement to the Patriots’ pass rush on the blitz, with an average of 33 total QB pressures in the past three seasons."
Having Hightower back will once again make the Patriots one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2017. Hightower is a complete linebacker, and the loss of him would have been crippling to the Patriots.
As one of the few linebackers that can defend against both the pass and the run well, the Patriots wouldn’t have been able to replace Hightower with just one player. After the new contract, they won’t have to.