Dont’a Hightower is the best player available in free agency. The linebacker is the No. 9 player in our Free Agent Hot 100 and the only one of our Top 15 who hasn’t either signed a contract or been given the franchise tag.
And the longer Hightower goes without signing with some other team, the more it appears that the Patriots are the favor to keep him.
Mike Reiss of ESPN notes that Hightower isn’t a fit for some defenses, and is a perfect fit for what Bill Belichick likes to do. Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reported that one team that had discussions with Hightower now thinks he’s going to stay in New England.
Belichick has made no secret that he loves Hightower. The first player Belichick mentioned by name after the Patriots’ win at Super Bowl LI was Hightower, whose strip sack of Matt Ryan spurred the comeback. And Hightower has said many times that he enjoys staying in New England.
So even though the Patriots decided not to franchise or transition tag Hightower, and even though Hightower has looked into his options over the last few days, no one should be surprised if the 26-year-old Hightower decides to stay in the place where he has spent the first five years of his career.