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NY Jets: Hightower Signs With Patriots

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Bob Levey/Getty Images

According to multiple sources Dont'a Hightower has signed a contract to return to the New England Patriots.  The deal is reported to be for four years and $43.5 million, with $19 million in guaranteed money.

The Jets hosted Hightower for a visit recently and were reported to have offered him a massive deal that would have paid Hightower comparable money to the highest paid inside linebacker in the NFL, Luke Kuechly.  Hightower also visited the Pittsburgh Steelers before ultimately deciding to return to the Patriots.

There is a saying that sometimes the best deals you make are the ones you don't make.  This feels somewhat appropriate here.  At least one source, the Washington Post, indicated that the Jets withdrew their offer when Hightower left the Jets facilities without signing a contract:

Hightower returned to the Patriots on Wednesday with a four-year, $43.5 million deal that includes $19 million in guaranteed money. He’d drawn interest from the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jets were said to have made a very strong offer for Hightower, but one that they withdrew when he finished his free agent visit without agreeing to a contract.

Whether it was the Jets who pulled out or Hightower, $12 million+ for an inside linebacker seems excessive.  There is no doubt Hightower would have represented an upgrade to the Jets linebackers.  However, at some point the price just isn't worth the player.  Reasonable minds may differ on what that price is; personally I think the Jets are better off for not signing Hightower at the price he was rumored to be asking for.  There are several quality inside linebacker free agents still available who will likely not cost nearly as much as Hightower and may fit the Jets nearly as well. If the Jets are intent on upgrading the position, Gerald Hodges, Zach Brown, Kevin Minter or Sio Moore might fit the bill without breaking the bank.

In any event Dont'a Hightower will not be a Jet.  What do you think?  Are the Jets better off avoiding such a high priced deal for Hightower, or have they missed out on an excellent opportunity to upgrade the roster here?