Mar. 15, 2017 10:39 AM PT11:39 AM MT12:39 PM CT1:39 PM ET17:39 GMT1:39 10:39 AM MST12:39 PM EST11:39 AM CT21:39 UAE13:39 ETNaN:� - Hightower agreed to a four-year, $43.5 million deal, his agent announced Wednesday. The contract also includes $19 million in guaranteed money, Hightower's agency, Sports Trust Advisors, posted on Twitter. Analysis: Hightower was being coveted during free agency by multiple other teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets, before the Patriots picked up the fifth-year option of the five-year contract he had signed as a rookie. The 27-year-old Hightower, who was named a captain for New England in 2016, made $7.751 million during his fifth NFL season.
Mar. 14, 2017 3:19 PM PT4:19 PM MT5:19 PM CT6:19 PM ET22:19 GMT6:19 3:19 PM MST5:19 PM EST4:19 PM CT2:19 UAE (+1)18:19 ETNaN:� - Hightower met with the Steelers Tuesday on the latest stop of his free-agent tour, though he left the facility without a deal in place. Analysis: Hightower visited the Jets on Monday, and the Patriots appear to still be in the mix to re-sign the versatile linebacker. The Steelers are looking for help at inside linebacker after veteran Lawrence Timmons signed with the Dolphins last week.
Feb. 28, 2017 11:18 AM PT12:18 PM MT1:18 PM CT2:18 PM ET19:18 GMT3:18 12:18 PM MST2:18 PM EST1:18 PM CT23:18 UAE14:18 ETNaN:� - The Patriots won't use the franchise tag on Hightower, making the linebacker a free agent on March 9. Analysis: The Super Bowl hero could still return to the Patriots but ESPN reported that Hightower is intent on testing the free-agent market. Hightower earned $7.751 in 2016 during his fifth NFL season. The franchise tag is expected to be worth approximately $14.7 million.