Feb. 27, 2017
Why the Patriots absolutely need to bring Dont'a Hightower back
The Patriots head into this offseason again as Super Bowl champions after their thrilling victory over the Atlanta Falcons. It was the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, coming back after trailing by 25 to send the New England region into euphoria thats probably going to last until next season. Other than the obvious heroes Tom Brady and running back James White, the key to this comeback came from 5th year linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Down 28-12 with just 8:30 to play, Hightower rushed passed Atlanta back Devonta Freeman and strip sacked MVP quarterback Matt Ryan. Alan Branch made the recovery, and the play set the Patriots up to strike within one possession. Hightower has proved to come up in big spots. In Super Bowl 49 against the Seahawks, it was Hightower who made the game saving tackle on Marshawn Lynch that set up Malcolm Butler to become a legend just one play after.
So shouldn't this be a no brainer for the Patriots to bring Hightower back? It probably would be for any team besides the Patriots. Bill Belichick and the Patriots have always done business the same way. They don't like to over pay for guys especially if they feel the contract is bad value for them. Hightower, who will turn 27 next season, is coming off a four year 7 million dollar contract, and will likely look for the same type of contract his former teammate Jamie Collins signed. Collins signed a four- year 50 million dollar contract with the Cleveland Browns, and its estimated that Hightower will most likely be worth 4-years and roughly 40 million. But will the Patriots open up the check book? It's highly unlikely that they will going by previous history in which they do business. And it's hard to argue with a teams business model that has brought five Super Bowl titles in the last 15 years. But I really think the Patriots need to find a way to bring this guy back because honestly they need him. If they don't, we're looking at a starting linebacking core that will feature Elandon Roberts, Kyle Van Noy, and Shea McClellin. How scary is that? Hightower has become the anchor and captain of this defense, and losing him would be a tough transition for this team. Although it wouldn't surprise me to see them find that next guy to step up and take over the reigns, it would be really tough to have to watch Kyle Van Noy get lost in zone coverage again next year. The pats could draft the next stud linebacker, but rebuilding such a key part to the defense in what could be the twilight of Tom Brady's career is sort of risky. How annoying would it be to watch Brady's last few years and realize they don't have a championship caliber defense? To me, Hightower's a must to bring back. But is it actually reality? Only Bill Belichick knows that answer. And we're sure to find out soon. In Bill we trust I guess right?