screen-shot-2017-03-19-at-7-33-53-pmBy Sam Gordon 3/19/2017

The New England Patriots won the regular season, now they’re winning the off-season. After making some big moves via free agency and trades, the Patriots took care of one of their own. The Pats and linebacker Dont’a Hightower have agreed to a four-year contract worth $43.5 million with $19 million in guaranteed money.

The 27-year-old Hightower has been involved is some huge plays in the biggest games. His strip-sack of the Falcons Matt Ryan was a momentum changer in Super Bowl LI, not to mention stopping Marshawn Lynch at the one yard line in Super Bowl XLIX.

Hightower put together an All-Pro season in 2016, and he became the leader of the Patriots defense. After trading away key pieces Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones, Hightower had to take on more of the defensive load and rose to the challenge. The Patriots managed to keep one of the NFL’s best linebackers in the fold as he enters his prime.

According to multiple reports, Hightower was being courted heavily by the Jets and Steelers. ESPN.com reports the Jets made a very competitive offer, but the exact numbers aren’t known.

With the re-signing of Hightower, the Patriots continue to bolster their team this off-season. The next order of business, turning their attention to Malcolm Butler. The Pats cornerback is a restricted free agent and is scheduled to meet with the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.