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Not only did Dont’a Hightower walk away from more money from the Jets than he took to stay in New England, he also had more on the table from the Steelers, according to league sources. 

The linebacker was clearly never leaving New England for AFC East rival New York, as he had $11 million per season with the chance to make over $12 million including incentives, on the table during his visit with the Jets and he never dabbled. 

The Steelers would have paid him over $9 million per year to join them, but, despite media reports purporting Hightower could make well over $10 million a season in New England, he ended up taking a base deal worth about $8.7 million per season with the Patriots. The dude never wanted to leave. The other teams involved always felt like they were being used -- and turns out they were totally right.

More news and notes from around the NFL

New Orleans Saints

I anticipate the Patriots and Saints working out a deal for Malcolm Butler during the upcoming league meetings in Phoenix. 

Both sides are motivated to make it happen and Butler badly wants to move on and get paid. Once the Saints get him to agree to their price, then they trade talks with the Patriots will take off. I’d be very surprised if New Orleans had to part with a No. 1 pick to make this happen.

Dallas Cowboys

If Jerry Jones can’t consummate a trade for Tony Romo at the owner’s meetings -- and I doubt he can -- then it’s beyond time to stop playing this thing out. Stop carrying a back-up quarterback with a $24 million cap hit, designate Romo a post-June 1 cut and let the man continue his career. Last I checked, it was still far more likely than not that Romo would play football in 2017 rather than broadcast. If Jones is trying to wait him out hoping to entice a speedy retirement decision. I highly doubt it works.  

Free Tony Romo, start empowering Dak Prescott and move on.