Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, email, his Friday chat, and any other outlet you prefer. He’ll pick one each day (except for Saturday) to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
The biggest surprise of the Patriots’ offseason to me isn’t the [Stephon] Gilmore deal or the BrandinCooks trade. It’s that no one has made, at least as far as anyone has reported, a massive offer to Dont’a Hightower. I thought he was a goner on the first day of free agency. Now I’m addicted to refreshing Twitter to look for news that he’s coming back. Doesn’t it seem weird to you that some team with a ton of cap space didn’t make him an offer he couldn’t refuse? – Tim O.
At the risk of jinxing this — you might want to knock on wood right now, and that Danny Woodhead bobblehead on your desk over there does qualify — weren’t you a little surprised that Hightower, the Patriots’ defensive fulcrum and a player who went out and won his two championship rings, didn’t get a mega-offer in the early days of free agency? You know, a Stephen Gilmore, can’t-say-no-to-that-guaranteed-loot kind of deal?
I sure am, and it’s a relief that he apparently didn’t, because he’d be worth it to any team in search of a complete, prime-of-career linebacker (he turned 28 Monday) with a winning pedigree in college and the pros. You’d think a team on the verge trying to figure out how to win would bring in an excellent, respected player who already knows.
The longer he lingers in free agency, the more likely it seems he returns — though the upcoming visit with the Steelers does make me somewhat nervous. He’d be an ideal fit there, and they have more to offer than just cupcakes and promises. My goodness, it would not shock me if the Jets were recruiting him to play quarterback.
Hightower has been a Patriot for five years, but he’s become such a core player, so smart, productive and versatile, that it feels like he’s been here longer, almost as if — and we owe Jerod Mayo preemptive apologies here — he were the direct descendant of Tedy Bruschi, who somehow has been retired eight whole seasons now. There are only a few Patriots defensive players — Ty Law, Mike Vrabel, maybe Rodney Harrison and Willie McGinest — who have been so consistently excellent in the big moment on the biggest stage.
I’m with you, Tim. I keep checking for news he’s coming back. [Knocks on Woodhead again.] What about you guys? Are you surprised how free agency has gone for Hightower to this point? I’ll hear you in the comments.