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New England Patriots Links 7/18/12 - Will Hightower Hold Out?

<em>Dont'a Hightower playing a waiting game with his contract</em>.
Dont'a Hightower playing a waiting game with his contract.

Christopher Price updates us on the status of the Patriots' rookie contracts.

Dont’a Hightower: The only unsigned member of New England’s rookie class. The Alabama linebacker, taken with the 25th overall pick, is represented by Pat Dye, Jr., of SportsTrust Advisors. Hightower is one of 14 first-round picks who remain unsigned, a group that includes the top eight picks. (Per ESPN Boston, the deal is being held up because of fourth-year guarantees.)

Mike Reiss notes NFL Network put the Patriots under the spotlight as part of its 32 teams in 32 days series, with analysts Daryl Johnston and Jamie Dukes.

Have the Patriots fixed their defense?

Johnston: "They're on the road to fixing it. I like the draft choices. They got Chandler Jones, who is going to be a good pass-rusher off the edge. Dont'a Hightower. You can see the mindset, to trade up in the first round twice, when you've traded down in the previous four drafts. They're getting Ras-I Dowling back. Alfonzo Dennard, the Big 10 defensive player of the year, some people think he could be a potential steal of the draft. We'll have to wait and see, but you could tell, when you have a wide receiver [Julian Edelman] playing in your secondary, things are not good."

Dukes: "I guess the silver lining is that they finished 15th in scoring [defense]. So at the end of the day, if they can continue to finish middle of the pack as far as giving up points, with the offense they have ... And everything we're hearing is that [Brandon] Lloyd has been that piece we thought Chad Ochocinco or Johnson would be. So adding that piece and element to [Wes] Welker and Gronk, I think they have potential to be special offensively. And it really won't matter as much as where they are defensively."