Report: Hightower open to return after conversation with Belichick

Report: Hightower open to return after conversation with Belichick

According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, free agent inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower and Patriots coach Bill Belichick had a “positive conversation” last week and that he’s open to returning to New England. 

PATRIOTS FREE AGENCY: Curran on Pats' plans, plus position-by-position breakdown

The Patriots opted against franchising Hightower, who saw his rookie contract expire after the 2016 season. The Patriots traded up in the 2012 draft to take the Alabama product 25th overall, but could see him depart in free agency after five seasons. 

Hightower testing the market and ultimately returning would not be completely uncharted territory for the Patriots, as they went through a similar situation with Devin McCourty in 2015. 

Should Hightower walk, it would leave Malcom Brown as the team’s only first-round pick since 2012 still on the team. 

Chandler Jones (21st overall in 2012) was traded to Arizona last offseason, while Dominique Easley (29th overall in 2014) was cut. The Pats traded out of the first round in 2013, but their first pick (Jamie Collins, 52nd overall) was dealt to Cleveland prior to last season’s trade deadline. They did not have a first-round pick last year as part of their Deflategate punishment.  

Eric Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts

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Eric Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts

Former Lions tight end Eric Ebron is signing a two-year deal worth $15 million with the Colts, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Ebron was rumored to be a potential target for the Patriots, especially after new Pats running back Jeremy Hill tried recruiting him to the team.

The 24-year-old had 53 receptions for 574 yards and four touchdowns a season ago with Detroit. 


Patriots release Shea McClellin

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Patriots release Shea McClellin

Shea McClellin will be blocking kicks for somebody else next season. 

The Patriots announced Monday they've released the veteran linebacker, ending his tenure with the team after two seasons.  ESPN's Field Yates broke the news.

The Pats signed McClellin to a three-year deal prior to the 2016 season, but that was the only season in which he played for the team. McClellin missed all of last season due to injury. Prior to coming to New England, McClellin played four seasons with the Bears, who chose him 19th overall in 2012. 

McClellin's biggest contribution with the Pats came when he blocked a Justin Tucker kick in Week 14 of the 2016 season against the Ravens.