With the Patriots silent and the Jets interested in swiping a key defensive player from a division rival, the Jets initially made a big push to sign linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Their zeal diminished, however, after giving Hightower a physical.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Jets made an initial offer of up to $62.5 million over five years. After the physical, however, it became clear that the total dollars and (more importantly) the guarantees wouldn’t ultimately get to the point where Hightower would accept.
The Jets didn’t drop out but they were concerned, the source explained. The Patriots, conversely, knew about any potential medical issues and were comfortable proceeding.
The difference in the two teams’ attitude about Hightower’s overall health after five NFL seasons ultimately contributed to the Patriots putting together an offer that Hightower deemed to be more than good enough, given his history with the team.