The New England Patriots are currently dealing with CB Malcolm Butler in the headlines, but the team’s unanimous top priority should be the retention of LB Dont’a Hightower, who is currently visiting with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
And if the Steelers front office can be trusted (they cannot), Pittsburgh is getting “positive vibes” about their meeting with Hightower.
Wow. Some positive vibes out of #Steelers HQ right now re LB Dont'a Hightower's visit. Of course... they also felt confident abt those CBs.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) March 14, 2017
It’s important to note that “positive” might be relative. Hightower was meeting alongside CB Davon House, who apparently signed a deal with the Green Bay Packers while he was still in Pittsburgh. So long as Hightower eats the cupcakes, it has to be considered “positive,” right?
The reason Pittsburgh would be such a head-scratching landing point for Hightower is the financial aspect. If the Patriots wanted and adjusted the contract of WR Danny Amendola, they could have twice as much cap space as the Steelers, making it almost impossible for the Steelers to draw Hightower away.
And then there’s the fact that the Steelers let longtime LB Lawrence Timmons walk in free agency when they were offering $5 million per season. The Miami Dolphins signed Timmons away on a 2-year, $12 million contract. I don’t believe the Steelers are in a place to win any negotiating battles.
But who knows. Hightower is still doing the free agent rounds and trying to drum up his contract value. Maybe some dark horse team will come out of the woodwork and make him an offer he can’t refuse. Maybe that team will be the Patriots.
EDIT: Hightower really wants to be back in New England.
The Jets interest in Dont'a Hightower cannot be overstated. Steelers won't make a massive offer. Pats still keeping a close eye— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 14, 2017
Hopefully cupcakes aren’t the doom of this relationship.