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Patriots Exercise LB Dont'a Hightower's 5th Year Option

New England will keep their star linebacker for an extra season.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

edit: looks like PFT broke the news first

According to the Herald's Jeff Howe, the Patriots have picked up the fifth year of linebacker Dont'a Hightower's contract. First round picks have a fifth year option built into their rookie deals and teams have until May 3rd to exercise these options.

Hightower was the 25th overall selection of the 2012 NFL Draft. The Alabama graduate was known for his versatility and ability to play both linebacker and defensive end. Over time, he has developed into one of the best linebackers in the entire league and secured the middle linebacker position for the Patriots in their Super Bowl season. He has grown into a true leader of the defense.

Look for the Patriots to try and come to terms with an extension for Hightower that will keep him around for years to come.

Defensive end Chandler Jones, a fellow first round pick from the 2012 draft, will hear about his contract option in the next couple of days.