It appeared that the New York Jets were making a strong play for Pro Bowl linebacker Dont’a Hightower. The team was said to have offered the New England Patriots defender a five-year, $55 million contract that could have reached a total value of $62.5 million.
This seemed like it could have been enough to steal Hightower away from the defending champs. Ultimately, he decided to return to New England on a four-year, $43.5 million contract with $19 million guaranteed (more on that here).
This was a sign that Hightower had given his Patriots a home-town discount, right?
Not so fast. According to MMQB’s Albert Breer, the Jets actually pulled their initial contract offer to Hightower after he conducted a physical.
Jets offer was pulled after physical, so this was a moot point by the time Hightower accepted Pats' offer. https://t.co/jjgiBo73D7
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 17, 2017
There were surely concerns with Hightower’s health, which has come into question in recent years. In fact, the former first-round pick has missed 27 percent of New England’s games over the past three seasons and has not played in a full 16-game slate since 2013.
One has to wonder if this is why he received a relatively small $19 million guaranteed from the Patriots. It also speaks to the somewhat cold market the Pro Bowler found in free agency.