BOSTON (CBS) — It turns out that Dont’a Hightower was never really a threat to leave New England.
While it should come as no surprise that the Patriots linebacker turned down more money from the Jets to re-sign with the Pats, a new report suggests that he even turned down a better deal from the Steelers. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported on Thursday that Pittsburgh offered Hightower a deal for over $9 million per season; he ultimately returned to New England on a deal that right now averages about $8.7 million per season, but could add as much as $2 million per season through incentives and bonuses.
The Jets reportedly offered Hightower a deal worth $11 million per season with the chance to earn over $12 million. The Steelers are in a much better position to contend for the AFC crown than the Jets are, and Hightower would have been a good fit for their defense – which makes his decision to spurn their offer more surprising.
La Canfora added that the Steelers felt like they were being used in their meeting with Hightower. That certainly appears to be the case. After a free agency period that felt like Hightower was seeking the best deal possible, the Patriots’ defensive captain really desired to stay in New England all along.