This offseason, one of the most important things for the New England was to sign linebacker Dont’a Hightower. The skilled linebacker is happy to be back.
It ended up being a very busy offseason for the New England Patriots after winning their fifth Super Bowl. With a lot of key free agents, the Patriots had to make some hard choices.
One of the surprises came when the Patriots decided not to use their franchise tag on Dont’a Hightower. As one of the best linebackers in the league, Hightower hit free agency. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of reported interest in Hightower.
The team that appeared to have a chance to steal him away from the Patriots was the New York Jets. However, going to the Jets would have made certain that Hightower wasn’t going to be playing in the playoffs anytime soon.
Hightower ended up signing an extremely team-friendly deal, the Patriots locked him up for four years at just $35 million. After a somewhat long process, Hightower is happy to be back with the Patriots.
"“It’s good. I’m glad I didn’t have to relocate,” Hightower said to Phil Perry of CSNNE.com. “Stressful, but glad it’s over with. Glad I’m here. I’m glad I’m back on the field now.”"
This offseason, Hightower was battling some injuries which resulted in him being placed on the PUP list. Luckily, Hightower just recently was active from the PUP list and is practicing in full again.
With the season only two weeks away, getting Hightower back on the field is important for the Patriots. Due to some injuries up front, the Patriots might be utilizing Hightower as more of a pass-rusher this coming season. Having his versatility will be crucial this season on defense.
After being selected to his first Pro Bowl last season, Hightower is looking to build on that in 2017. As one of the best players on the defense, there will be a lot of pressure on Hightower to perform.
With the third preseason game coming up against the Detroit Lions on August 25th, it will be interesting to see if Hightower is able to get on the field.