The snow apparently didn’t stop Dont’a Hightower from getting to Pittsburgh.

According to multiple reports, Hightower is in Pittsburgh meeting with the Steelers on Tuesday.

Dont'a Hightower reportedly is visiting Steelers on Tuesday. (Dan Powers/USA Today Sports)

Dont’a Hightower reportedly is visiting Steelers on Tuesday. (Dan Powers/USA Today Sports)

The snow apparently didn’t stop Dont’a Hightower from getting to Pittsburgh.

According to multiple reports, Hightower is in Pittsburgh meeting with the Steelers on Tuesday.

The linebacker met with the Jets Sunday and Monday and there was a question of whether or not he would be able to make it to Pittsburgh Monday night because of the storm, but it didn’t prove to be an issue.

The free agent linebacker has been connected to the Jets, Steelers and Patriots. He was connected to the Dolphins and Titans last week, but those teams seem to be out of the mix.

The 27-year-old reportedly is seeking between $10-13 million per year.

It’s expected he will return to the Patriots, but with him taking all these visits maybe there’s a chance he signs elsewhere.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Bill Belichick and the Patriots have a unique free agent approach. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports) The Patriots aren't like any other team in the league when it comes to how they approach free agency, especially their own free agents.



Brandin Cooks had a pretty good quarterback in Drew Brees with the Saints, but now he has arguably the best to ever play the game in Tom Brady with the Patriots.

Brandin Cooks is excited to be joining the Patriots. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Brandin Cooks is excited to be joining the Patriots. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Brandin Cooks had a pretty good quarterback in Drew Brees with the Saints, but now he has arguably the best to ever play the game in Tom Brady with the Patriots.

Cooks was traded to the Patriots on Friday night in exchange for the Patriots’ first-round pick. New England also gave up its third-round pick and got back New Orleans’ fourth-round pick.

“The opportunity to play for an organization like this is a dream come true and it’s a blessing,” Cooks said to Patriots.com on Monday. “I couldn’t be more thankful. To be able to play with someone that is going to be a Hall of Famer [Tom Brady], a guy who is so competitive, that is what you look forward to and I am just thankful for the opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.”

Cooks and the Saints went up against the Patriots in joint practices each of the last two years, so he had a good idea of what the Patriots franchise was like and is now glad to be part of it.

“This is a first-class place,” he said. “The type of place you would love to be apart of. When we practiced against them it was always competitive and this is the type of team you want to go against to better yourself, and to be on a team like this now, it’s amazing.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Free agent linebacker Dont’a Hightower spent his 27th birthday on Sunday visiting with the Jets in New York.

Evidently, they used his birthday as part of their pitch to him.

The Jets apparently sent merchandise to Dont'a Hightower's mom as a way to lure him to New York. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

The Jets apparently sent merchandise to Dont’a Hightower’s mom as a way to lure him to New York. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Free agent linebacker Dont’a Hightower spent his 27th birthday on Sunday visiting with the Jets in New York.

Evidently, they used his birthday as part of their pitch to him.

“They sent his mother Jets merchandise, the brought him out to dinner [Sunday] night and had cupcakes given to him on his birthday. They had ‘Happy Birthday Dont’a Hightower’ on all the screens inside the Jets training facility,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on Monday’s NFL Insiders program.

The Jets are not the only team interested in Hightower, either.

It appears the Steelers have joined the mix along with the Patriots. The winter storm on the East Coast is also playing into things, as it may prevent Hightower from traveling there Monday night.

“There is a major snowstorm moving in, and there’s a question as to whether Dont’a Hightower is going to get out of there,” Schefter said. “We’re waiting to see if he actually makes the trip. The Patriots are in the background. The Jets’ interest is real and legitimate. I think if they come [close] financially, he’s going to consider going to play for the New York Jets.

“But the Pittsburgh Steelers also want to bring them into their building and have him visit with them. So Dont’a Hightower’s situation is fluid while the Patriots await an answer from him.”

Hightower reportedly is seeking between $10-13 million per year.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Kony Ealy believes playing with Tom Brady will help his game. (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)

Kony Ealy believes playing with Tom Brady will help his game. (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots got a pretty good player last week when they swung a deal with the Panthers for defensive end Kony Ealy.

If there was something to criticize in his game, it would be his inability to get after the quarterback.

Speaking to Patriots.com, Ealy said having Tom Brady as one of his teammates will help him get better at that.

“I like getting after quarterbacks,” Ealy said. “Good thing I get to play with one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play and to learn from him. He’s going to help me learn how to get to more quarterbacks. I’ll try to use that to my advantage.”

Last season Ealy totaled five sacks in 16 games.

The former Panthers defensive end had a tremendous game in Super Bowl 50, as he’s the only player in Super Bowl history to record multiple sacks and record an interception in the game.

He’s looking forward to potentially getting back there with the Patriots.

“Very excited,” he said. “Being with a group of guys, a championship-caliber team, having the opportunity to learn from these guys and hopefully be there myself. It’s just putting everything together just like God has planned for me.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Patriots could have one of, if not the best cornerback tandem in football next season with Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler.

Gilmore signed a five-year deal with the Patriots last week at the start of free agency, but things are a bit unclear with Butler.

Stephon Gilmore is a fan of Malcolm Butler. (Kevin Hoffman/USA Today Sports)

Stephon Gilmore is a fan of Malcolm Butler. (Kevin Hoffman/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots could have one of, if not the best cornerback tandem in football next season with Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler.

Gilmore signed a five-year deal with the Patriots last week at the start of free agency, but things are a bit unclear with Butler.

The 27-year-old is a restricted free agent and since the Patriots placed a first-round tender on him is set to make $3.91 million this season. Butler hasn’t signed the deal, and is reportedly upset about his salary, especially considering the Patriots are paying Gilmore $13 million per season.

There’s a chance a team places an offer sheet on Butler, or the Patriots trade him, so there’s no guarantee he plays with the Patriots next season.

Speaking on a conference call Monday, Gilmore sounded like he hopes to get the chance to be able to play alongside Butler.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with that, but I’m looking forward to it,” Gilmore said. “He’s a great player. He’s made a lot of good plays in the league. So I would love to team up with him and play with him.”

The former Bills corner has always been a fan of Butler’s game, especially his story of being an undrafted free agent to making the game-winning play in Super Bowl XLIX.

“Obviously, he came in the league undrafted, so he came in and grinded his way up to the top,” Gilmore said. “And he’s made a lot of good plays in the league, so you’ve got to respect him as a player. He’s made a lot of great plays on big stages. I definitely respect him as a player.

“Playing in this league, you’ve got to have a strong mentality playing at the corner position, and I think he has that. He has that fight in him. That’s one thing that sticks out from watching him. He always comes back. If you get him, he always puts it behind him and makes plays the next play.”

Gilmore said Chris Hogan and Devin McCourty have already reached out and have welcomed him with “open arms.”

The No. 10 overall pick in the 2012 draft said he’s willing to help the Patriots in any way he can, but would describe himself as mostly a man-to-man cornerback.

“I think a strong part of my game is just being physical at the line of scrimmage and playing a lot of man-to-man coverage,” Gilmore said. “I’m just ready to do whatever the coaches want me to do to make the team better. I’m down for whatever challenge they want me in. I think me just pressing at the line of scrimmage and making plays on the football, that’s my strongest point of my game.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable