Dont'a Hightower reportedly has a torn pectoral, will miss the rest of the season

Patriots inebacker Dont'a Hightower has a torn pectoral and will miss the rest of the season, according to multiple reports. 

Apparently, this injury has been lingering for a while, and it affected Hightower's free agency this offseason. 

Hightower signed a four-year, $43.5 million contract with New England after an extended tour featuring visits with the Jets and Steelers. The Jets apparently pulled out all the stops to secure his services, baking him some cupcakes, sending Jets gear to his mother and reportedly offering a deal that averaged over $12 million per year, but it ultimately wasn't enough. 

During his first five NFL seasons, Hightower recorded 404 combined tackles, 17 sacks and 13 passes defensed in 67 games. He suffered an injury during the Patriots' 2017 season opener against the Chiefs and missed the next two games, but had been his usual productive self over the past four weeks before apparently going down for the year with this injury. 

It's terrible timing for the Pats, who were finally starting to get right on defense after a brutal start to the year on defense. They held the Buccaneers, Jets, and Falcons to a combined 38 points over the past three weeks after yielding 131 to the Chiefs, Saints, Texans  and Panthers during their first four games. 

With Hightower out, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and David Harris will all presumably see more snaps, but the Patriots might also elect to use more of their three-safety look with Patrick Chung dropping down into the box. 

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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