Right now, Dont’a Hightower is on his way to the New England Patriots Hall of fame. He is one of the most clutch, big time playmakers in Patriots history and he’s only 26 years old. The Patriots should sign him to a big deal, but they don’t need to. They should either give him the franchise tag or agree with him on an extension, but they don’t need to. The tag would be upwards of 14 million dollars. Is he worth it?
Flash back to Super Bowl 49 against Seattle. The game’s winding down and Jermaine Kearse makes that miracle catch on the sideline at the Patriots 5. This set up the iconic 1st and goal for the Seahawks, where Malcolm Butler eventually makes the interception of the decade, winning it for New England. But on the play before that, Dont’a Hightower made the other play of the game by stopping Marshawn Lynch at the 1 yard line to keep the Pats alive. Plays like that are made by guys who are world class, elite NFL football players.
Noone’s gonna forget the play he made in the Falcons game either. Down 28-12 in the fourth quarter, he sped off the edge and fucking murdered Matt Ryan. Sacked the shit out of him, forced a fumble, and got the ball back in Brady’s hands. One of the biggest plays in Patriots’ history.
Hightower is a great player with a bright future, and a legit superstar in the making. He’s one of the best young players in this league, and he’s one of the staples of the Pats’ defense. Hightower is a beast and he’s gonna get paid one way or another. Taking a look at the highest paid linebackers in the NFL, I think Hightower has an argument to be in the top 5.
- Von Miller $19M
- Chandler Jones $16.9M
- Justin Houston $16.8M
- Clay Matthews $13.2
- Jamie Collins $12.5
If the Patriots and Dont’a Hightower can’t agree on a number and Hightower becomes an unrestricted free agent, then the Pats lose a key member of their super bowl winning defense. So does Belichick pay him? Focusing on the defense, here’s a quick look at some significant salaries:
- Devin Mccourty $10.9M
- Patrick Chung $5.4M
- Shea McClellin $3.1M
- Rob Ninkovich $2.25M
- Malcolm Brown $2M
Everyone else on defense has a cap hit under 2 million for next year. Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon, Alan Branch, Chris Long, and Jabaal Sheard are also unrestricted free agents, and Malcolm Butler is restricted. Assuming Butler re-signs for big money, you could still look at the Patriots’ financial situation and agree that Hightower is worth re-signing.
If there’s any downside to Dont’a Hightower as a player, it’s staying on the field. He’s only been healthy enough to play 16 games once in his career, and that was in 2013. If Hightower wants more than what Jamie Collins just signed for in Cleveland, fuck him. Let him go get paid somewhere else and lose. Belichick got rid of Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins for nothing and then we won a Super Bowl. Two major players on our defense, and it didn’t matter. They will replace Dont’a Hightower and keep winning super bowls with Tom Brady. We do it all the time.
Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan need to get paid, and we need to keep cap room for players like Trey Flowers and Malcolm Brown. Elandon Roberts can take on a bigger role next year, and we can improve at linebacker through the draft. Convincing Hightower to take less money is what Belichick will try to do, and I hope it works.