After a long and drawn out unrestricted free agency tour, New England Patriots middle linebacker Dont’a Hightower elects to resign back with the team. The finalized deal is for 4 years, $43.5M, $19M guaranteed. That contract puts him second in the league only to Carolina Panther star middle linebacker, Luke Kuechly. Hightower’s $10.9M average annual salary slots him just ahead of: Bobby Wagner, NaVorro Bowman and Lavonte David.
Before finally making his decision to come back to the Patriots, it was reported both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets were aggressively pursuing his services. It seems as though no matter how much they tried to pry him away from New England, his return to the Patriots was inevitable as several reports leaked out as them being the front runner.
Shortly after winning Super Bowl LI he appeared on the Adam Schefter podcast and was asked about his upcoming thoughts on unrestricted free agency, and he said he wanted “to be respected and loved.” Looking back on the process and how it played out, and having a mutual respect between him and the Patriots, it’s fair to say the deal worked itself out where he felt respected and loved.