Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower reportedly plans to hold off on retirement and play in the 2022 NFL season.
Mike Reiss does not believe the nine-year veteran will be wearing a New England uniform later this year, though.
In his latest Sunday morning notebook, Reiss offered a few bold predictions for New England’s offseason with the start of the new league year less than a week away. The ESPN reporter projected Hightower, an impending free agent, to land with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who recently added former Patriots assistant Brian Flores to their coaching staff.
Ironically enough, the Steelers reportedly were interested in Hightower the last time he was a free agent in 2017. In fact, the contract offer the three-time Super Bowl champion passed on in Pittsburgh reportedly was richer than the one he agreed to in order to stay in Foxboro.
Linebacker probably is nothing more than a secondary need for the Steelers heading into free agency, but the days of Hightower being a top-tier game-changer appear to be behind him. The 32-year-old could provide Pittsburgh with solid depth and veteran leadership, and his wealth of postseason experience could be a valuable asset should the Steelers reach the 2022 playoffs.
As for other future Patriots Hall of Famers set to hit the open market, Reiss predicts both Matthew Slater and Devin McCourty will re-sign with New England.