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First Patriots offer to Dont’a Hightower came on March 14

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Despite the persistent belief that linebacker Dont’a Hightower wouldn’t be leaving the Patriots, the Patriots didn’t make a move to keep Hightower until only one day before he agreed to terms.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the first New England offer came on March 14 — seven days after the negotiating period opened with other teams and five days after free agency officially started. The offer came as Hightower began his visit to the Steelers, who (as reported elsewhere) gave Hightower a firm deadline for accepting their offer. Hightower opted to nevertheless wait and to keep talking to New England.

On March 15, the Patriots eventually sweetened the offer after a back-and-forth. The Patriots (like the Jets — more on that in a separate item) had concerns about Hightower’s durability and availability. For his career, Hightower has participated in only 65 percent of all plays. It’s believed that those concerns caused the Patriots to take a very conservative approach to the negotiations.

The base deal, with an average just under $9 million per year (it’s definitely not a four-year, $43.5 million deal as reported elsewhere), puts Hightower behind Luke Kuechly, Bobby Wagner, and Novarro Bowman, who have nine Pro Bowl berths between them. The contract nevertheless pays out $17 million fully guaranteed at signing; the other $2 million guarantee is for injury only, and it vests as a full guarantee later in the deal.

With incentives for playing time and Pro Bowl, Hightower can make another $2 million per year. The maximum package has a value of $10.88 million per year.

Given the durabiltiy issues and the realities of the offer from the Jets (again, more on that later), Hightower regarded the ability to make good money and to stay put with a perennial contender as his best option, by far.

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34 Responses to “First Patriots offer to Dont’a Hightower came on March 14”
  1. greg3117 says: Mar 16, 2017 5:11 PM

    Rings or cash? I think he went with the bling. Smart move to stay on a perennial contender, in a system he knows.
    No need to chirp in with GOAT BB/TB12 etc. We all know.
    Signed- Redskins fan.

  2. dmc1542 says: Mar 16, 2017 5:14 PM

    I mean the Jets did offer cupcakes…

  3. zabam1 says: Mar 16, 2017 5:14 PM

    Never considered leaving NE. Used other teams and the system to establish the price NE would pay. Bidders beware…

  4. thegronk87 says: Mar 16, 2017 5:16 PM

    But but but the jets baked cupcakes….

  5. knowspinzone says: Mar 16, 2017 5:18 PM

    “……the Patriots didn’t make a move to keep Hightower until only one day before he agreed to terms.”

    That was the plan. The Patriots do this with high ticket players. They tell them to go out and see what they can get from other teams and then come back and tell them. They either match it or tell the player arriverderci paisano. Just like car dealers who advertise “see us last”!

  6. standinginmybboystance says: Mar 16, 2017 5:19 PM

    So what. He knew what he was going up against… he was given an option and chose wisely.

    End of story. Now get to the season.

    “Stop, stop spreading these rumors around, stop, stop spreading the lies”… -Timex Social Club

  7. walker1191 says: Mar 16, 2017 5:20 PM

    The whole point of the Patriots telling Hightower to go out and gauge the market was so that he could figure out his value and they’d match it (or come close enough).

    Which is what happened.

    So why would it be a surprise that they made no offer before the 14th?

  8. cma1973 says: Mar 16, 2017 5:30 PM

    Smarter than I thought.

  9. bartor1544 says: Mar 16, 2017 5:30 PM

    “Ugh can we just stop this charade… I just left NY, now I’m being fitted for a bumblebee suit… I want you back, you’re just different… I was wrong to want some space…” – Dont’a

    “Key’s under the mat” – Belichick

  10. 6ball says: Mar 16, 2017 5:47 PM

    .
    The Patriots defensive scheme is favorable to Hightower’s talents. Other team’s alignments would force him to alter his game. He’s worth more to the Patriots than to other teams.
    .

  11. kap1123 says: Mar 16, 2017 5:49 PM

    Not bad for a player only playing 65% of the time.

  12. weepingjebus says: Mar 16, 2017 5:53 PM

    It’s a good deal for both sides. He was playing with only one good arm when he shed a block and kept Beast Mode out of the end zone in SB 49, making Pete rethink the run and try a pass play that you may have heard about. So for yet another year the Patriots will have a No. 54 out there, and injured or not he will be ready.

  13. JaminJake says: Mar 16, 2017 5:54 PM

    The Patriot workplace mantra of do your job makes life a heck of alot easier. When people stay in their lane it makes life more enjoyable. It can easily be rectified by the New England fan base falling in love with you and you finding a way to establish businesses there.

  14. maust1013 says: Mar 16, 2017 5:58 PM

    thegronk87 says:
    Mar 16, 2017 5:16 PM
    But but but the jets baked cupcakes….
    ===================

    Unfortunately for them the jests are also cupcakes in their own right.

  15. gotitan says: Mar 16, 2017 6:00 PM

    Brady isn’t GOAT. And the bling ended last season. those are facts. Enjoy your weather and your last trophy. When I grew up, I never heard of a Patriots fan. I am 47.

  16. amadorcountyca says: Mar 16, 2017 6:01 PM

    Pats take care of their own. There is life after football. A definite win win.

    Smart move by Dont’a. Wish Butler had someone advising him to take the long view.

  17. tylawspick6 says: Mar 16, 2017 6:14 PM

    right, they knew the market, budgeted for him
    and respected his right to fa.

    end of story

    greatest gm ever. period

  18. maust1013 says: Mar 16, 2017 6:19 PM

    “For his career, Hightower has participated in only 65 percent of all plays.”

    That play percentage is skewed somewhat by NE’s penchant for situational substitutions and game plan oriented D. Hightower has consistently played more snaps than any other player in their front 7. In spite of missing a few games he was in on 67% of snaps last season more than any other non DB

  19. dangguy says: Mar 16, 2017 6:22 PM

    He must have found those cupcakes at the Jets were supermarket day old specials. Glad he’s back where he belongs.

  20. tbisgod says: Mar 16, 2017 6:28 PM

    I give him credit for squeezing some more money out of BB and Kraft . Tom Curran said it best this week, , “You have to pay at least one of the guys who won you rings.” If you only pay guys from the outside, you’ll have a very unhappy lockeroom. ” Pats realized they had to reward somebody. Now give Gronk a new deal.

  21. tangotwo22 says: Mar 16, 2017 6:32 PM

    Look what the browns paid Collins….the Pats are so smart….they would much rather have Hightower and got him for 75% of what the Browns paid. They play by the rules just smarter than the rest. Butler can ask for the world, if he waits a year he can do the same thing Hightower and McCourty did. Trying to get his money a year earlier will be a mistake down the road. he is a hero to Patriot Nation, he could end up a bum in New Orleans with a little more money. Gilmore was signed to replace Ryan…..Butler isn’t the brightest guy but he and his freshman agent have much to learn.

  22. paulmauddib says: Mar 16, 2017 6:41 PM

    Gotitan, last I checked they were the reigning Super Bowl champions. Brady is still the GOAT by almost all measures. Just because you grew up in Tenn Appalachia doesn’t prove there wer not Pats fans.

  23. cadreamer1969 says: Mar 16, 2017 6:42 PM

    So, his agent is talking with you.

    Smart of the Pats to let the player explore the market then try and work out a deal. They didn’t have to use the franchise tag. Kudos.

  24. lgw91s says: Mar 16, 2017 7:17 PM

    gotitan says:
    Mar 16, 2017 6:00 PM
    Brady isn’t GOAT. And the bling ended last season. those are facts. Enjoy your weather and your last trophy. When I grew up, I never heard of a Patriots fan. I am 47.
    ———-

    You still haven’t grown up.

  25. maust1013 says: Mar 16, 2017 7:45 PM

    @paulmauddib says:

    gotitan is one of the chipster’s sock puppets and he has never grown up.

  26. twomadmapper says: Mar 16, 2017 7:59 PM

    Now sign Butler….

    Let’s get onto the 6th Lombardi….

  27. sidepull says: Mar 16, 2017 8:08 PM

    Plus another ring. Not to bad DH

  28. nhpats says: Mar 16, 2017 10:00 PM

    gotitan says:
    Mar 16, 2017 6:00 PM
    Brady isn’t GOAT. And the bling ended last season. those are facts. Enjoy your weather and your last trophy. When I grew up, I never heard of a Patriots fan. I am 47.

    ———–

    You should really try to understand the difference between facts and opinions. What you espoused was your opinion. The facts remain to be seen. But I will say this…the historical odds are not in your favor.

  29. tbradysgay says: Mar 16, 2017 10:27 PM

    Feels good to be a Patriot

  30. cloud1515 says: Mar 17, 2017 5:08 AM

    Now let’s get Malcolm Butler signed

  31. deacon85 says: Mar 17, 2017 8:37 AM

    gotitan says:
    Mar 16, 2017 6:00 PM
    Brady isn’t GOAT. And the bling ended last season. those are facts. Enjoy your weather and your last trophy. When I grew up, I never heard of a Patriots fan. I am 47.
    ———————————
    I don’t want to pile on, since there are other comments eviscerating your opinion, but I’ll just say that I’m twelve years older than you and I was a Patriots fan before you were born.

  32. superpatriotsfan says: Mar 17, 2017 9:44 AM

    Better stay with a team you can cheat with and get away with it. Now you wouldn’t want to work that hard for a ring would you?

  33. count974 says: Mar 17, 2017 10:06 AM

    gotitan says:
    Mar 16, 2017 6:00 PM
    Brady isn’t GOAT. And the bling ended last season. those are facts. Enjoy your weather and your last trophy. When I grew up, I never heard of a Patriots fan. I am 47.
    ———————————

    I’m 50 – been a Patriots fan all my life. When we were growing up, there WAS NO SOCIAL MEDIA! Unless you actually lived in New England, you wouldn’t hear of any Patriots fans – or pretty much any other team’s fans.

  34. superpatsfan5 says: Mar 17, 2017 10:08 AM

    Anyone under the age of 17 doesn’t have any clue what it’s like to live in a world where the New England Patriots are not the most dominant football team of all time. No reason to think that will not extend out another 3 to 10 years depending on how long Belichick coaches.

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