Dont’a Hightower, Patrick Chung, Marcus Cannon returning to Patriots in 2021

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Tom Brady was not the only player whose departure from New England precipitated the Patriots’ first losing season in two decades. The Patriots also had more players opt out of the 2020 season than any other team in the league.

The good news is, that means the Patriots are getting some key players back.

Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon all plan to return to the Patriots for the 2021 season, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. All are healthy and ready to get back to work.

In addition to getting back their opt-outs, the Patriots are also near the top of the league in available salary cap space. So they should be able to add some more key players in free agency.

There are plenty of reasons to think the Patriots could be better in 2021 than they were in 2020. As long as they can find a quarterback.

75 responses to “Dont’a Hightower, Patrick Chung, Marcus Cannon returning to Patriots in 2021

  1. As long as they can find a quarterback better than Cam Newton
    ——————————-
    Added that last part. Kind of important I think.

  2. Get a new quarterback? But your boss thinks Cam Newton is better than a third of the quarterbacks in the league. He obviously did not watch one Patriots game this year.

  3. They still lose the Division to either Miami or Buffalo.

    On another note, isn’t Chung older than Brady?

  4. Hopefully they are well rested. Hightower was still effective in run defense but he appears to have lost a step or two in coverage. Cannon should add some good depth but he is like a turnstile all too often

  5. Forget about the quarterback. Where is the talent at wide receiver and tight end? What are they going to do at fullback? James Develin retiring last year was big.

  6. This is the year for BB to prove the doubters wrong. Not saying they will win the Super Bowl but they should field a competitive team. Time will tell.

  7. Keep Newton, get some receivers and a dominant pass rusher. D is pretty good, O line is top notch, and RBs are good. This Pats fan loves watching a running QB for once. Newton had 500+ yards rushing. Brady had 8 last year. That’s not a typo.
    Newton had a late start and also had Covid. Pats were a few plays from 10-6 or better. SHOULD have beat the Chiefs and Bills in the regular season.

  8. The headline should read “Donta Hightower, Patrick Chung, Marcus Cannon all on the trading block for the Patriots in 2021”

  9. Good new, not unexpected. Hightower is one of the most underrated players in the league. Chung one of the better db’s at covering TE’s. Could end up being cut because of Dugger and Phillips looking pretty good this past year. Cannon, when healthy, a solid right tackle. He’s getting up in age though and will likely need a contract restructure.

  10. I agree the Pats need a new QB. But I would keep Newton and use him in different ways. Line up as RB,WR, and QB at times. It would be a new look for many defenses to deal with and Cam does have a unique skill set that I believe could be leveraged into a real problem for defenses. All this is predicated on Cam accepting the role and Pats finding a decent QB. A QB who can manage a game. Like Brady did his first few years.

  11. See New England fans don’t think is any big deal they are coming back BECAUSE THEY ARE SPOILED ROTTEN ! I can’t say I blame them because of the massive amount of success they have had in recent years. Those fans are right though about the need to get that QB situation figured out and I am beginning to believe it might not be “The Patriots Way” that made them so successful but rather “The Brady Way”.

  12. 6burgh says:
    February 26, 2021 at 12:14 pm
    6x World Champions Patriots!! YaY!!!!
    Dynasty 2.0 coming, revenge tour, watch out NFL!!!!
    __________

    Kinda think you may have a few issues of your own in the steel city.

  13. Newton had 500+ yards rushing. Brady had 8 last year. Thats not a typo.
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    Cam also had 8 TDs. Brady had 40. That’s also not a typo. The Pats need a QB, not a RB.

  14. Chung can go bye bye. Cannon is a good OL. Hightower is clutch, but getting older. They will get the QB thing sorted out. If you think about it, they were 7-9 with that offense last year playing a first place schedule. If they got a 20 TD 10 Int season from a QB, they probably finish 11-5. Cam didn’t look great for most of the season. They were about 4-5 plays from winning against Seattle, Buffalo, Denver, and Houston. 11-5 isn’t a real stretch when you think about it. They got reps for the youth on this team. They will be good. Tampa didn’t win that SB with offense alone. Their D played great for 4 games in the playoffs.

  15. Patriots 2021 schedule:
    Home: Bills, Jets, Dolphins, Jaguars, Titans, Buccaneers, Saints, Browns
    Away: Bills, Jets, Dolphins, Colts, Texans, Falcons, Panthers, Chargers
    Will they win more than half of the home games ? Hard. They could go 4-4 at home.
    More than half of the away games ?!? Maybe, if they beat the Chargers in LA. If not, 4-4 away, too.

  16. lgw91s says:
    February 26, 2021 at 12:30 pm
    6burgh says:
    February 26, 2021 at 12:14 pm
    6x World Champions Patriots!! YaY!!!!
    Dynasty 2.0 coming, revenge tour, watch out NFL!!!!
    __________

    Kinda think you may have a few issues of your own in the steel city.

    1 1 Rate This

    True, his name is Ben Roethlisberger haha. You guys need a QB. Take him for free please

  17. As this article mentioned they are way under the salary cap (62 Million I believe). With the total cap # coming down there is going to be a ton of free agent players available this year. A lot of teams are going to have to cut good players just to make the cap.

    The Patriots need help for sure, but they are in great position to help themselves. Also they aren’t picking draft choices at the bottom this year.

    Time will tell, I don’t think they lost any coaches this year also.

  18. ghjjf says:
    February 26, 2021 at 12:49 pm
    Tom Brady has more Super Bowl wins than the Patriots.
    ———————————————————

    Bill Belichick also has more Super Bowl wins than the Patriots. In fact, BB has more Super Bowl wins than Tom Brady.

    Greatest Head Coach of All-Time, Bill Belichick, combined with the Greatest NFL Player of All-Time, Tom Brady, gave us 21st century NFL fans the privilege of watching the Greatest NFL Dynasty of All-Time, the New England Patriots, for two decades. And for that we will always be grateful to the Patriots and their lucky fans.

  19. Tampa didnt win that SB with offense alone
    ———

    Tampa didn’t win the Super Bowl.

    Tom Brady did.

  20. havok82 says:
    February 26, 2021 at 12:36 pm
    Chung can go bye bye. Cannon is a good OL. Hightower is clutch, but getting older. They will get the QB thing sorted out. If you think about it, they were 7-9 with that offense last year playing a first place schedule. If they got a 20 TD 10 Int season from a QB, they probably finish 11-5. Cam didnt look great for most of the season. They were about 4-5 plays from winning against Seattle, Buffalo, Denver, and Houston. 11-5 isnt a real stretch when you think about it. They got reps for the youth on this team. They will be good. Tampa didnt win that SB with offense alone. Their D played great for 4 games in the playoffs.

    —–

    You might want to check that. Tampa’s defense was not good in their 1st playoff game against the Redskins. Brady had to come back and save the game or they were 1-and-done

  21. Cannon’s grade had dropped for 4 consecutive years before opting out. He was rated as the 36th best OT in 2019. His cap charge this year is $9.6 mil, and the rookie Onwenu significantly outplayed him in 2020. And that’s the guy you want to keep?

  22. Key players on losing team returning? I thought BB always got rid of players a year early. BB is still in Brady shock. He’s losing it.

  23. Let’s all keep in mind that Bill can’t really coach anyway, and Brady was the guy who single handedly won those 6 Superbowls. It was Brady who intercepted that pass when they beat Seattle. Don’t forget it was Brady who told Bill not to call a timeout right before that pick too, and it was Brady who shut down the greatest show on turf when the Patriots beat the Rams, and it was Brady who kicked that winning field goal too. Brady also kicked that winning field goal in the snow against the Raiders. It was Brady calling the defensive plays that stopped Atlanta in the second half during that 28-3 comeback win. Tom is everywhere, and it was always Tom all along. Bill really doesn’t know anything about coaching, or rosters, or cap space. It was Tom…Yup all Tom

  24. Cannon will be 34,carries a 9.6 mil cap hit, only 2.6 in dead money and gets hurt a lot. Pats drafted 2 OL last year who both had really promising rookie seasons. Thanks for the memories Marcus.

  25. So much chatter spent on the Patriots suck because Bradys not there.
    They forgot people opted out and still have spots on the team. Never liked the Patriots, but theyll be back to winning.

  26. Bill Belichik is a total fraud and maybe even the worst coach in the league
    ———

    Your language is offensive!

    – Mike McCarthy

  27. Hightower is 30, Chung 33. This isn’t the cavalry you think it is. Plus, “Checkers” Belichick still has to find a QB.

  28. Really? Chung should have walked away after beating Atlanta, Hightower after beating the Rams, Cannon lost his way once his wallet got fat and affected his balance

  29. bostonsteve12 says:
    February 26, 2021 at 12:18 pm
    I agree the Pats need a new QB. But I would keep Newton and use him in different ways. Line up as RB,WR, and QB at times. It would be a new look for many defenses to deal with and Cam does have a unique skill set that I believe could be leveraged into a real problem for defenses. All this is predicated on Cam accepting the role and Pats finding a decent QB. A QB who can manage a game. Like Brady did his first few years.

    ——-
    That’s the Cam of a few years ago. Today Cam’s legs are shot. He would be as useless in that role as he is passing.

    Great guy and teammate and easy to like but he’s done in the NFL.

  30. stubborndata says:
    “Bill Belichik is a total fraud and maybe even the worst coach in the league.”

    – – – – – – – – –

    Now you’re just trolling and piling on. It tells more about you as a football viewer, not favorably, than about BB. Brady did not arrive at New England like a comet. Belichick mentored and developed Brady into a great quarterback. How do you think Brady developed his knowledge in reading defense? I’m not even a NE fan but I already felt stupid just responding to your post!

  31. Newton had 500+ yards rushing. Brady had 8 last year. Thats not a typo.
    —-
    Brady won his 7th Superbowl. Cam watched another from his couch. That’s not a typo either.

  32. Belichick should get a medal for the coaching job he did with that team. Especially with the opt outs and Newton coming in so late. Even Brady took 2/3 of the season to get up to speed. Problem is, Belichick has had a horrendous 3/4 yrs as GM. Now they have cap money, draft picks, plenty of QBs and WRs out there, lets see if he can hit a grand slam. I’m certainly not betting against him.

  33. Belichick does have 8 rings, but he won two of those rings as a defensive coordinator under Bill Parcels on the Giants. He had the greatest linebacker of all time at his disposal, Lawrence Taylor. Belichick has said it himself that it’s a player’s game. It’s far easier to coach when you have the greatest players like Brady, Gronk, and Taylor. Aside from drafting Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Devin McCourty, and Julian Edelman, Bill has definitely disappointed as a general manager. Remember Aaron Dobson, Jordan Richards, Taylor Price, Shawn Crable, and Brandon Tate? Let’s not forget about Guss Scott, Bethel Johnson, Tavon Wilson, Kevin O’Connell, Cyrus Jones, and even N’Keal Harry. Look at Phil Jackson without Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

    However, Don Shula accomplished a lot with different quarterbacks. Joe Gibbs is the only coach to have won three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks, Joe Theismann (XVII), Doug Williams (XXII) and Mark Rypien (XXVI). To me, the greatest coach in football is one who can win a super bowl championship with different quarterbacks. I’ll even throw in George Halas and Paul Brown, in terms of overcoming adversity. Personally, I think Belichick is a bit overrated. He does deserve all the credit for putting together the best playoff defenses in the 2001, 2016, and 2018 seasons, though. Belichick’s poor drafting is preventing him from being the greatest coach ever.

  34. jameshodges says:
    February 26, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    However, Don Shula accomplished a lot with different quarterbacks.

    —–

    Don Shula had arguably one of the best QBs of all time in Dan Marino and he could only even with the AFCCG one time….. BB and Brady won it 9 times. Rex Ryan could have managed to take the Dolphins to the SB at least one time.

  35. Good news, our defense went from best in the league to one of the worst in one year. Hightower and Chung are leaders who can get us back on track and teach the young’ins. Cannon is good insurance considering Thuney and Andrews could be gone.

  36. tedmurph says:
    February 26, 2021 at 2:26 pm
    Belichick should get a medal for the coaching job he did with that team. Especially with the opt outs

    ////////////Okay, sure. No other team had a difficult time last year with no camp and opt outs. Belichick should get a medal, give me a break

  37. Now all they need is a coach that is capable of winning without Brady. So much for plugging in any QB to the system Brady WAS the system. As a head coach, Bill was sub – .500 pre-Brady and is now sub-.500 post Brady存peaks for itself as Brady in his FIRST season with a NEW team at 43 has won the SB!. BB should give his pathetic boat with the unearned ring count on the back to the guy who actually earned those rings in SPITE of working with a LOSING head coach.uh, that would be BRADY. Case closed.

  38. Some folks won’t get it until Belichick has more losing seasons without Brady. These fans are in denial.

  39. Yes, Belichick should get a medal because they had the most opt outs of any team, their starting QB(who arguably can’t play anymore) signed much later than anyone elses and their roster is one of the worst in the league. He still coached them to 7 wins with a 1rst place schedule, and could have won a couple more.

  40. nhpats2011 says:
    February 26, 2021 at 2:56 pm
    jameshodges says:
    February 26, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    However, Don Shula accomplished a lot with different quarterbacks.

    Don Shula had arguably one of the best QBs of all time in Dan Marino and he could only even with the AFCCG one time.. BB and Brady won it 9 times. Rex Ryan could have managed to take the Dolphins to the SB at least one time.

    ————

    Fun Fact: Don Shula also never won a single post-season game with Johnny Unitas at QB, lost the 1964 Championship 27-0.

  41. It will be fun to troll patriot articles for years to come. Using patriot fans favorite word “karma” hahahahaha

  42. tedmurph says:
    February 26, 2021 at 5:50 pm
    Yes, Belichick should get a medal because they had the most opt outs of any team, their starting QB(who arguably cant play anymore) signed much later than anyone elses and their roster is one of the worst in the league. He still coached them to 7 wins with a 1rst place schedule, and could have won a couple more.

    4 2 Rate Thism

    -

    Just curious, but how is a top 5 oline, a top 5 run game and the best secondary in football with top 5 special teams group, one of the worst rosters in the league?

    You have a math problem like a lot of Millennials do. They cannot do math nor can their parents which is why 90% of the league is in a cap hell and NE isnt.

    Enjoy, Teddy. Enjoy those TB Brady underoos you bought. Go away.

    Ugh. Nothing worse than entitled, dorky Gen Z Pats fans.

  43. I’m reminded of my favorite phrase for trolls that think the Pats will be down for long. Rude awakening

  44. Ryan Dubose says:
    February 26, 2021 at 11:47 am
    They should sit out until football is 100% safe.

    //////

    Hard to understand all the downvotes for this obviously hilarious satirical comment on the ignorance of educated people.

  45. tedmurphsays:

    February 26, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    TB-6. Consistently wrong about everything since 2017.

    __________

    Remember those couple months when this dude wasn’t posting, because one of multiple predictions didn’t come through?

    Miss those days.

  46. bcsublime says:
    February 26, 2021 at 8:57 pm
    tedmurph says:

    February 26, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    TB-6. Consistently wrong about everything since 2017.

    __________

    Remember those couple months when this dude wasnt posting, because one of multiple predictions didnt come through?

    Miss those days.

    3 2 Rate This

    Umm, I lost the bet so I honored it. The pandemic is the pandemic, but the idiots who think BB became senile, your time is over, including dorkmurph whose football knowledge is zero.

    Hope you enjoyed the time.

  47. tedmurph says:
    February 26, 2021 at 5:50 pm
    Yes, Belichick should get a medal because they had the most opt outs of any team, their starting QB(who arguably cant play anymore) signed much later than anyone elses and their roster is one of the worst in the league. He still coached them to 7 wins with a 1rst place schedule, and could have won a couple more.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Could have won a couple more? Yes and could have lost a few more. It took a 13 point, 4th quarter comeback with a FG as time expired to beat the Jets (as an example). Starting QB signed much later? Tell me about how he was still better than Stidham who had already spent a full year with the Pats.

  48. fansince1973 says:
    February 26, 2021 at 6:02 pm
    nhpats2011 says:
    February 26, 2021 at 2:56 pm
    jameshodges says:
    February 26, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    However, Don Shula accomplished a lot with different quarterbacks.

    Don Shula had arguably one of the best QBs of all time in Dan Marino and he could only even with the AFCCG one time.. BB and Brady won it 9 times. Rex Ryan could have managed to take the Dolphins to the SB at least one time.

    Fun Fact: Don Shula also never won a single post-season game with Johnny Unitas at QB, lost the 1964 Championship 27-0.

    5 2 Rate This

    -

    Don Shula was a coattail rider and stat padder. Lots of arm folding walking up and down the sidelines for Donny boy and lots of confusion the last 10 years of his career.

    Very overrated as a big game coach. Not much there.

  49. mlhigh77says:

    February 26, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    Funny how a year without game checks makes you come running back, virus be damned.
    ———
    Or ya know the more realistic considering their career earnings, they watched football and the protocols put in place last year and feel safe to play thru it. It shouldnt be that complicated to realize with no data last year some would rather be overly cautious then to step into a situation they would regret.

  50. Christopher Allan says:
    February 26, 2021 at 9:51 pm
    tedmurph says:
    February 26, 2021 at 5:50 pm
    Yes, Belichick should get a medal because they had the most opt outs of any team, their starting QB(who arguably cant play anymore) signed much later than anyone elses and their roster is one of the worst in the league. He still coached them to 7 wins with a 1rst place schedule, and could have won a couple more.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Could have won a couple more? Yes and could have lost a few more. It took a 13 point, 4th quarter comeback with a FG as time expired to beat the Jets (as an example). Starting QB signed much later? Tell me about how he was still better than Stidham who had already spent a full year with the Pats.

    6 2 Rate This

    Its pretty clear that without seeing Stidhams progress, thet didnt want to ruin any confidence he had after a superb rookie year, the only backup qb to Brady. Only Garoppolo had that status before. Teddy is bad with clues. He instead relies on the anti-BB media, which knows nothing so they conjure things up.

    The fact is, he could easily be the guy still. The morons who mock BB have not even thought of this as a possibility becasue they let the media tell them things that dont make sense.

    Teddy Video Game here, who probably plays in 3 fantasy football leagues wouldnt be able to scout a players and tell you why or why not a player is good, if his basement dwelling life depended on it.

    You wont get an answer from him. If anything, using Newton in a bridge year was likely done to protect Stidham. And,Id bet money the idea came from McDaniels.

    When you cant see 2nd year or rookies until July 26 during a rebuild, thats a problem. It was basically 2011 except worse because of the opt outs and then losing Edelman. They probably win 2 more games with Edelman, for example, even with awful Newton.

    So if your situation is that bad at qb and Te in particular and you win 7 games? Do the math there.

    Heck, even all the opt outs may have been a design to get rookies live reps until 2021.

    BB works in such advanced ways, its hard for Teddy to understand the long view just like it is for most people in our society these days.

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