The Pittsburgh Steelers coveted linebacker Dont’a Hightower, but in the end, he re-signed with the New England Patriots on Wednesday.
And one Pittsburgh writer believes that’s the best thing that could have happened to the Steelers.
In a column following Hightower’s deal with the Patriots, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette wrote that Hightower wasn’t worth the price.
“Hightower is overrated and overhyped, partly because he made two key plays to help the Patriots win two Super Bowls, partly because he was a first-round draft pick and partly, well, because he played in New England,” Bouchette writes.
The 27-year-old linebacker visited the Steelers on Tuesday but left without a deal and signed a four-year, $43.5 million deal with the Patriots on Wednesday. And Bouchette doesn’t know why the Steelers were interested in the first place.
“Hightower as playmaker? Please. He had a career-high six sacks in 2014 and just six combined the past two regular seasons. That is 1.5 fewer than Harrison, at 38, had in 2016 — 7.5, including 2.5 in the playoffs.
“He could’ve contributed in other ways — but it was not through forced fumbles (two in his career), fumble recoveries (three) or interceptions (zero). (Lawrence)Timmons had two interceptions in 2016 alone, 12 in his career, and had five passes defensed last season.”
Despite what Bouchette says are underwhelming numbers, the point remains that the Patriots brought back a key defender who helped them win two Super Bowls over the past three seasons.
The Patriots continue to be the clear winners of the NFL offseason.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Jan 16, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower (54) celebrates after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 27-20 during the second half in the AFC Divisional round playoff game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports