The Patriots' first-round pick in 2012, 25th overall, Hightower's best asset is his versatility.
Running backs LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden, wide receiver Michael Floyd, defensive end Chris Long and tight end Greg Scruggs are still available as unrestricted free agents.
Well, many of their front office personnel trickled out of the building Tuesday when Hightower was still on his visit to catch a place to Madison, Wis., where they'll attend Wisconsin's pro day Wednesday.
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The New England Patriots have re-signed star linebacker Dont'a Hightower to a multi-year deal after the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers failed to secure his services.
Hightower doesn't deserve all of the credit, but the Patriots have ranked in the top 10 in scoring defense each season of his career and finished first in that category in 2016. Collins and Jones have since been traded.
One of the biggest question marks of the Patriots' offseason now appears to be resolved. "All of it kind of boils down to when to play with emotion and when not to, and we have the right preparation, we do the right study and everything else, so it really comes down to execution". Hightower, a captain, also brings leadership and experience to a locker room that might have some questions if head coach Belichick replaces Butler with Gilmore. The deal was first reported NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.
Hightower played the 2016 season for $7,751,000 after the Patriots picked up their fifth-year option on Hightower's four-year rookie contract, which had paid him $7,724,002.