“Dont’a Hightower won’t play Sunday against the Chargers and could be out a bit longer after that due to shoulder injury, per source,” Howe tweeted. “Hightower and the Patriots are still evaluating the extent of the shoulder injury. Timetable remains undefined as of now.”
Hightower suffered a shoulder injury in week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons and is not expected to play against the Los Angeles Chargers. New England has their bye in week 9 so Hightower will have at least three weeks to heal before his next game. The Patriots defensive captain already missed weeks 2 and 3 of this season with a knee injury and he has battled injuries his entire career.
When the Patriots extended Hightower, they tied up to $1 million per year in playing time incentives, with bonuses at 65% of the snaps ($375,000), 70% ($250,000), 75% ($250,000), and 80% ($125,000). He also has an additional $500,000 in Pro Bowl or All Pro incentives and $54,687.50 in per game roster bonuses. Over $1.5 million is at stake for Hightower because of his injuries.
Hightower has played just 50% of the snaps so far this year and this injury will prevent him from maximizing his contract value. Hopefully he doesn’t miss too much time and is able to play after the bye week.
With Hightower sidelined, look for Kyle Van Noy, David Harris, Elandon Roberts, Marquis Flowers, and even Cassius Marsh to see more time against the Chargers. The Patriots promoted Trevor Reilly from the practice squad, too.