Earlier today, it was reported that New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who is currently an unrestricted free agent, will make his decision about which team to join later today. Per recent reports, Hightower will decide between three teams: The Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets.
The latter, according to Jason La Canfora, have "far and away" the best financial offer for the 27-year old on the table. Per Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole, we now know a bitter better what this offer looks like:
Told that the #Jets have offered more than $12M per season for #Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower as he gets closer to decision.
An annual contract value of $12.0 million would place Hightower among the highest paid standup linebackers in the NFL. Only Cleveland Browns and former Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins ($12.50 million) and the Carolina Panthers’ Luke Kuechly ($12.36 million) receive more than that.
Of course, as of earlier today, those involved in the situation are all expecting Hightower to return to New England. The question, however, becomes how much the Jets’ offer exceeds the Patriots’ and whether it is enough to entice the Pro Bowler to leave the team that has made him a first round draft pick and with which he had one two Super Bowls.
Later today, we will know the answer. Until then, the entire NFL remains on "Hightower watch".
[UPDATE 12:53 pm ET] According to NFL Network’s Michael Silver, the Jets’ offer will not bring Hightower to New York:
According to source familiar with the negotiations, the Jets have been out of the Hightower market since he left the building @nflnetwork
This would leave the Patriots and the Steelers in contention for Hightower.