Breaking news: Patriots Super Bowl hero DISAPPOINTED
Breaking news: Patriots Super Bowl hero DISAPPOINTED . Dont’a Hightower has played a huge role in the Patriots’ last two Super Bowl victories.Now, the hard-hitting linebacker will be a free agent this offseason. after New England declined to use the franchise tag on him rather than lock him down on a high-cost, one-year contract.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 28, 2017
Hightower would have earned a little under $15 million for 2017 under the franchise tender. Instead, he’ll try to work out a long-term deal with the Patriots. or any of the 31 other clubs who would be interested in his dynamic defensive game.
The 26-year-old linebacker was also one of the best players on New England’s defense last fall. He racked up 65 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and forced one fumble en route to his first Pro Bowl in 2016.
One of the biggest plays in his career occurred in the Patriots Super Bowl LI victory against the Atlanta Falcons. Down 28-12 early early in the fourth quarter. Hightower shifted the momentum back to New England by strip-sacking quarterback Matt Ryan.
The Patriots recovered the ball and scored 22 points after that, winning the game with a James White 2-yard touchdown run in overtime.
The Patriots have been maneuvering to create the cap space to re-sign Hightower, so a reunion in Foxborough may be his most likely destination. It looked like they would have three linebackers hit free agency in 2017 this time last year. Instead, New England traded linebacker Chandler Jones to the Arizona Cardinals last offseason. The Patriots also traded linebacker Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns before the trade deadline, leaving Hightower as their only possible free agent at the position.
Before last season, New England offered Hightower a deal that was worth more than $10 million per season, but he turned it down and is now set to earn even more money. The only question is whether that will be with the Patriots or at a new home.