During his first five seasons with the Patriots, Hightower recorded 404 combined tackles, 17 sacks, and 13 passes defensed in 67 games.
Hightower's new contract is for four years and $43.5 million, with $19 million guaranteed, according to multiple reports. The Patriots could probably match, if not raise, whatever the Jets were offering and it's fair to assume Hightower would rather return to the Patriots and try to win another ring than join a rebuilding effort in NY.
Hightower had heavy interest from both the Jets and Steelers, visiting the Steelers on Tuesday. His suitors apparently believed that too.
Hightower visited a couple of other teams, including New England's AFC East rival the New York Jets, but ultimately made a decision to stay with the team he's been with since entering the National Football League in 2012. He visited NY and Pittsburgh earlier this week before making his decision.
ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported Hightower was returning to New England.
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Hightower's agent confirmed the signing on Twitter.
Dont'a Hightower is officially back with the Patriots.
Hightower spent the last week fielding offers and meeting with potential suitors, including the Tennessee Titans, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Malcolm Butler (New England): Not technically on the market yet, but the Patriots could be moving on after signing Stephon Gilmore.
Selected by the New England Patriots in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft from the Universtiy of Alabama, Hightower was a team captain last season.
Whether it was the Jets who pulled out or Hightower, $12 million+ for an inside linebacker seems excessive. They need to bring him to One Jet Drive as soon as possible. Hightower knows he got the deal that the market would bear for him. If they've offered that much, and he hasn't signed a contract, it tells you that he has little desire to play for them. He finished the season with 65 tackles, 2.5 sacks and eight quarterback hits.