Turns out it was the driving force behind the Jets dropping out of his sweepstakes.
But ultimately, he returned to the Patriots a richer man after signing his four-year deal worth $35.5 million.
New England Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower has battled injuries throughout his National Football League career, missing 13 regular season games in five seasons.
With adding depth and bolstering their offense with signing of WR Brandon Cook from New Orleans now they turn to their defensive side already acquiring 27 yr old LB Stephon Gilmore they get back their best player in Dont'a Hightower. It's a valid concern but if Hightower can stay on the field, he could be end up being a bargain. Coming off a huge performance in Super Bowl LI, Hightower has developed into one of the premier linebackers in the NFL. He has missed 11 games in the past three seasons with various injuries, and the Patriots defense has taken a dip in effectiveness when he's not on the field. The Jets were said to have made a very strong offer for Hightower, but one that they withdrew when he finished his free agent visit without agreeing to a contract. But apparently, they just wanted to make the Patriots look bad for extending Hightower despite his injury history.
McCourty happily anchors the secondary as a team captain while earning $6.5 million in base salary in 2017 on his five-year, $47.5 million deal. Meanwhile, the report only makes it even more clear that Hightower was never going to join the Jets, anyway.