Where Don’ta Hightower plays in 2017 has become a process of elimination, and it appears you can cross another team off the board.

The New York Jets are out of the market to sign the free agent linebacker, NFL Media’s Michael Silver reported Wednesday.

Silver’s coworker, Ian Rapoport, added Hightower’s return to the New England Patriots seems all but guaranteed.

Hightower paid New York a visit in free agency along with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Jets pulled out all the stops for the Pro Bowl linebacker, reportedly taking him out to dinner Sunday and celebrating his birthday with cupcakes and special television messages at the team’s facility.

New York also reportedly offered Hightower a hefty sum, per Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole.

Yet despite the Jets’ best efforts, it looks like Hightower would prefer not to play for the Patriots’ AFC East rival in 2017.

UPDATE (1:53 p.m.): The Jets — and the rest of the NFL — are out on Hightower, who’s returning to the Patriots on a four-year deal, his agency announced Wednesday afternoon.

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images