It doesn't matter if it's the regular season or the off-season: The Jets can't beat the Patriots. As it turned out, the 27-year-old landed a deal worth $10.875 million in average annual value, which is the second most in the National Football League among middle linebackers (Luke Kuechly). His suitors apparently believed that too.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are stirring the waters in free agency and one visit today from New England Patriots' linebacker Dont'a Hightower has sparked some interest among the fans. That's the sort of impact that drove Hightower's value to elite heights - even if he didn't end up cashing in for the most by a linebacker all time. He left Florham Park on Monday for Pittsburgh.
After being rebuffed by Hightower, it's not quite back to the drawing board, but it could be a return to the strategy that has served them well over the years. They would have a deal in place once the clock struck 1 p.m. ET on the first day of free agency.
Meanwhile, the 27-year-old Hightower is also another key part of the Patriots defense who could leave the squad this offseason. Still, it hurts to lose out on him, especially when the Patriots are the favorites to re-sign him. On Wednesday, the Steelers signed one of their recent visitors, landing wide receiver Justin Hunter, their first outside free agent.
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According to CBS Sports, the Jets had an offer on the table to Hightower worth over $12 million per year. They need to bring him to One Jet Drive as soon as possible. Once Hightower completed the process as he desired, the two sides worked out the acceptable deal.
In his time in New England, Hightower has recorded two of the biggest plays in Patriots Super Bowl history.
According to Jason La Canfora, the Jets interest in Hightower is serious and they can not be overlooked.
Last weekend, a report surfaced suggesting the Jets and Patriots were the leading candidates to sign Hightower. Think Hightower-Lite. The former Titan and Bill has 292 solo tackles and 14 sacks in five seasons.