Hello and welcome back to Dont’a Hightower Watch 2017™, where we’re going to order pizza in a few minutes, so just throw in a few bucks if you’re hungry.
As you may have heard over the weekend, the New York Jets are, suddenly, in the mix for Dont’a’s services, and Hightower was in the Big Apple today to hear the Gang Green’s pitch. It also just so happens that today is the same day that Dont’a turns the big 2-7, and so the Jets didn’t mess around when it came to showing some birthday love. To put it one way, they did a little more than write “Happy birthday!” on his wall.
I’ll let ESPN’s Adam Schefter take it from here, because he can get through all of this without giggling, and that makes one of us.
“On the day Hightower was celebrating his 27th birthday, the Jets pulled out all the stops, as ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter explained during Monday's edition of NFL Insiders.
"They sent his mother Jets merchandise, the brought him out to dinner last night and had cupcakes given to him on his birthday. They had 'Happy Birthday Dont'a Hightower' on all the screens inside the Jets training facility," Schefter relayed.
Hightower's visit was set to conclude Monday, according to Schefter, before he was scheduled to fly to Pittsburgh Monday night to meet with the Steelers.
"There is a major snowstorm moving in, and there's a question as to whether Dont'a Hightower is going to get out of there," Schefter said on the program. "We're waiting to see if he actually makes the trip. The Patriots are in the background. The Jets' interest is real and legitimate. I think if they come [close] financially, he's going to consider going to play for the New York Jets. But the Pittsburgh Steelers also want to bring them into their building and have him visit with them. So Dont'a Hightower's situation is fluid while the Patriots await an answer from him."
On the socials, the Jets were a tad more, shall we say, reserved:
UFA ILB Dont'a Hightower has visited with the team.https://t.co/f0GwrzsAxf— New York Jets (@nyjets) March 13, 2017
Hightower’s next stop is with the Pittsburgh Steelers, which makes a ton of sense after the team parted ways with longtime linebacker Lawrence Timmons, but makes less sense from the financial angle, given that the Steelers have roughly $20 million in cap space and Hightower’s almost certainly going to cost more than $10 million a year. The Steelers have had to draft pretty heavily on defense over the last few years as the stars from their stud 2000s teams either retired or kept lifting crazy amounts of weights and beasting out even into their late 30s, and adding a player like Hightower would add serious muscle to a defense that has to square off in grudge matches with the Bengals, Ravens, and Browns (don’t laugh) twice a season.
As always, make sure you keep it locked on the Pats Pulpit Free Agent Tracker to stay up to the minute with everything on Dont’a Hightower, Jimmy Garoppolo, the whole Malcolm Butler situation and...geez, that’s a lot of drama for this time of year, isn’t it?