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An Oakland Raiders linebacker is recruiting Patriots free agent LB Dont’a Hightower

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The Patriots linebacker is a top target in free agency.

New England Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower is one of the top players in free agency and every Super Bowl contender wants him on their roster, including the Patriots. New England decided not to place the franchise tag on Hightower and to allow him to test the open market.

Well, a certain AFC rival is trying to get a jump start on recruiting Hightower.

Oakland Raiders LB Bruce Irvin has been making sales pitches to Hightower on Twitter this week in hopes that the Patriots All Pro linebacker will defect to the up-and-coming Raiders.

@Zeus30Hightower is the Twitter handle of Hightower and Irvin is offering him the opportunity to play with EDGE Khalil Mack, whom Irvin considered “a walking hall of famer.” Irvin is also trying to recruit Arizona Cardinals DL Calais Campbell.

Irvin is hoping to show Hightower that the Raiders need him, while the Patriots merely want him, as evidenced by letting him hit the open market.

The Raiders have $43 million in cap space, 9th most in the NFL, and boast one of the youngest rosters in the league; only four players are older than 30 years old and that includes 39-year-old K Sebastian Janikowski and 35-year-old LS Jon Condo. The Raiders are set up to compete for a long time.

Hightower wants to remain in New England, but he also wants his contract to represent his perceived value. If the Raiders offer a lot more money, then he’s going to fly out to Oakland- one of the few contenders with cap space to potentially rival the Patriots.