According to a source, the Jets have zeroed in on Patriots free-agent linebacker Dont’a Hightower. The only problem is, so has Bill Belichick.
The Patriots reportedly want to re-sign the two-time Super Bowl champion, who made the Pro Bowl for the first time last year. But Hightower was in New Jersey on Sunday on a visit with the Jets that was expected to continue on Monday.
The question is: Will the Jets let one of the premier remaining free agents leave the building without a contract?
According to reports, Hightower has garnered interest from several other teams. The feeling around the league is that he’ll return to New England.
Hightower, who turned 27 on Sunday, was a first-round pick of New England in 2012. Last season, he was named a team captain and finished with 65 tackles, 2 1⁄2 sacks and two passes defensed. He has totaled 17 sacks in his five years in New England.
The Jets’ interest in Hightower raises questions about 33-year-old David Harris’ future with the team. The inside linebacker is the longest-tenured Jet.
In 2015, Harris signed a three-year, $21.5-million deal that included $15 million guaranteed. He’s due to earn a base salary of $6.5 million in 2017, but the Jets would save that amount if they release him.