The notion that the Jets wouldn't have signed Hightower due to the results of the physical is simply not true. The parameters of a five-year, $55 million deal (with unrealistic incentives that could have tacked on $7-plus million) were no longer in play when Hightower left the Jets facility last week. But the Jets would have been amenable to a revised deal at a lower cost.
Gang Green reportedly offered Patriots linebacker $20 million more than anyone else in free agency, but Hightower would have had to stay healthy and make the Pro Bowl in each year of the contract (five years, $55 million).
In any case, Hightower wound up signing a four-year deal worth $35.5 million to return to the defending Super Bowl champions.
Staying healthy for that long would have probably been a tall task for Hightower to take on considering he's only played in all 16 regular season games once during his career.
An as an aside, regardless if the Jets backed out of the Hightower race, they really have to know they suck if they were offering him that much more money than everyone else. Additionally, Hightower going there would have made no sense from a pure football standpoint because the Jets need to rebuild and won't be good for a long time.