BOSTON (CBS) — Dont’a Hightower’s surprisingly drawn-out free agency has lasted less than six full days, but it could be coming to an end. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that Hightower is expected to “make a call” between the Patriots, Steelers, and Jets on Wednesday.
Hightower traveled to Pittsburgh on Tuesday to meet with the Steelers but left without signing a contract. The free-agent linebacker also visited the Jets earlier this week on his 27th birthday and met with the Titans. Rapoport added that “those involved” are still expecting Hightower to return to the Patriots.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported earlier this week that the Patriots are expected to re-sign Hightower to a contract worth $10 million per season. La Canfora tweeted on Tuesday that he’s “convinced” that the Jets have offered him “far and away” the most money, which is likely what they’d need to do to get Hightower to choose them over the Patriots or Steelers. He added that Hightower “doesn’t seem inclined” to take the Jets’ offer.
The Steelers would be a great fit for Hightower in their defense, but that he left Pittsburgh without a deal indicates that their contract wasn’t substantially better than the Patriots’ offer.
If the Patriots end up bringing Hightower back at $10 million per year, it will be close to the same offer that the Patriots reportedly made to Hightower before the season, which the linebacker turned down. The Patriots’ defensive captain missed three games and played through multiple injuries in 2016, but made arguably the biggest single play of Super Bowl LI when he strip-sacked Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.