In addition, a source familiar with the negotiations told NFL Network's Michael Silver that the Jets have been out of the market for Hightower after he left the team facility following a visit earlier this week.
NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala added that Pittsburgh is likely out of the Hightower sweepstakes after intense -- and pricey -- negotiations with the player's representatives.
Aside from the intrigue driven by Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles' name recognition or the ongoing Tony Romo saga, Hightower's destination will be one of the most important moves of the free agency period. A versatile linebacker, the former first-round pick is essential to unlocking coach Bill Belichick's complex defense. He has logged some of the most important plays in recent franchise history -- especially in the Super Bowl.
Over the past five seasons, the 27-year-old registered 17 sacks, 251 solo tackles, 13 pass breakups and a pair of forced fumbles. With New England shifting fronts almost at will, Hightower's presence is important enough that Belichick did not simply let him fly the coop like he has other free agents.