|John David Mercer/Reuters|
Dont'a Hightower is undoubtedly one of, if not the most important member of the Patriots championship-winning defense. He has quite literally saved two Super Bowls from going the other way.
But he's a free agent, and there's no guarantee he will be back in New England next year.
"That's up in the air right now," he said, via ESPN's Mike Reiss. "Just going along with the ride and enjoying this."
Hightower added: "I'm sure in a couple weeks all that free agency stuff will pick up. I'll handle that whenever that comes."
There was once a time where questions arose in regards to the Patriots being able to keep Hightower, Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones given that all three of them were set to become free agents after this season. Collins and Jones were traded to Cleveland and Arizona respectively, so Hightower believes that being the last one standing of those three means the Patriots highly value him.
"I'd like to think [it's a good sign the Patriots want to keep me]," Hightower said.
The Patriots could use the franchise tag on Hightower, which is close to $15 million. Rumors are he's looking for roughly $10 million per year if not more, so $15 million would probably make him happy.
Because of Hightower's injury risk, the Patriots may be reluctant to give him a big contract. But despite that, I still think they should go above and beyond to get him back.
Additionally, Hightower is joining a growing list of Patriots players who are skipping the White House visit with President Donald Trump. His reasoning was "been there, done that."
Follow me on Twitter - @JesseGaunce
For more of my articles, click here.