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Dont'a Hightower Re-Signs with New England Patriots on 4-Year Contract

Dont'a Hightower Re-Signs with New England Patriots on 4-Year Contract

Linebacker Dont'a Hightower put on a good show with a free-agent tour that included visits with the Jets and Steelers, but he did the expected Wednesday and agreed to return to the New England Patriots.

This is a good situation for Hightower and the Patriots, who have had a mostly brilliant offseason, with the lingering Malcolm Butler situation notwithstanding. The deal will pay him $43.5 million over four years, with $19 million guaranteed.

Even with a seemingly revolving door of top players, Hightower will stick around after proving his worth while grasping the team mentality head coach Bill Belichick has installed.

Hightower's re-signing provides an end to an interesting free-agent saga.

And though the wait to re-sign Hightower scared the trousers off of some Patriots fans (and it's way too cold to be running around New England with no trousers right now), it wound up being the smart move for the Patriots.

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Hightower was reportedly seeking around $12 million per year. Which is why Hightower returning to New England felt like a coup d'etat to many keeping tabs on the situation.

Hightower was the Patriots' most important free agent because of how hard it would be to replace him.

He started all three of the team's playoff games and recorded a sack in the team's Super Bowl victory. This, per CBS, was more than both the Steelers and (now obviously) the Patriots. He also won two Super Bowl titles. They wouldn't have brought him in (or made him cupcakes!) if they didn't.

Fifth-year pro Vince Williams leads the Steelers' in-house options at inside linebacker, and the team has several other players under contract who could see increased roles, including 2016 seventh-round pick Tyler Matakevich.