Patriots place Dont’a Hightower, Alan Branch on PUP

Getty Images

The Patriots placed linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive tackle Alan Branch on the physically unable to perform list.

Hightower missed the offseason program with an undisclosed injury. He missed three games last season with injuries and played only one full, 16-game season in his first five seasons.

The Patriots, though, signed Hightower to a four-year extension with more than $17 million guaranteed in the offseason.

Branch did not attend the team’s voluntary offseason program. He returned for the mandatory minicamp last month, but the Patriots held him out of practice.

Branch, 32, signed a two-year deal this offseason that included $3 million in guaranteed money.

The Patriots also placed offensive tackle Andrew Jelks on the non-football injury list.

New England can remove Hightower, Branch and Jelks from the lists at any time.