INDIANAPOLIS — The New England Patriots haven’t approached linebacker Dont’a Hightower about taking a pay cut, and if they did, it would be a short conversation.

Hightower is unwilling to reduce his salary in 2019, a source told NESN.com, despite a salary cap hit of nearly $11 million. Hightower likely would receive immediate interest from teams like the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins if the Patriots chose to release him, which would free up nearly $6 million in cap space.

The 28-year-old had a solid, and healthy, 2018 campaign, though his numbers were down from previous seasons. Hightower registered one sack, 48 tackles, three tackles for loss, six quarterback hits, an interception, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery.

Hightower came on strong in the playoffs, when he had two sacks, four quarterbacks hits, three tackles for loss and a pass breakup.

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