Hightower signing eliminates contract drama

Hightower signing eliminates contract drama

By Tom E. Curran

The final rookie of the Patriots draft class has agreed to terms. Donta Hightower, the 25th pick out of Alabama, got his deal done Wednesday according to our buddy at ProFootballTalk.com, Mike Florio.

Just yesterday, the estimable Paoletti looked closer at the unsigned first and second-rounders and noted the hangup for Hightower was a guaranteed fourth year.

We still don't know whether he got that fourth year guaranteed or not.

What we do know is that the off-field wrangling over dollars and cents won't be keeping any Patriots out of camp this year.

And, hence, there should be an air of tranquility down in Foxboro.

We've had our share of contract stakeouts down there over the past few seasons. From Mankins to Brady to rookies like Ras-I Dowling last year, the business side has intruded.

This year, it won't. At least not directly.

Let's be honest, there is zero doubt that Wes Welker wanted to know where he'd be playing in 2013. Working for someone is easier when you don't have to worry that you'll be shown the door in a few months.

But the fact Welker is franchised and has been lugging that tag along for almost six months means he's by now reconciled to his situation.

And while the rules of media engagement require us to ask about his "leap of faith" that fell flat, he won't say anything that's a direct shot at the Patriots. If inwardly he seethes, outwardly he'll be accepting.

Some people in my line of work will pine for a good contract dustup in camp. Picking at contractual scabs - basically worrying about other people's business - is an easy angle. Better to beat that to a pulp than discuss, ya know, football.

Of course, Aaron Hernandez is going into the final year of his rookie deal in 13 months...never too early to start asking....

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Ryan, Falcons rout Packers, 44-21

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NFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Ryan, Falcons rout Packers, 44-21

ATLANTA - Matt Ryan and Julio Jones teamed up for a dominant playoff performance, and the Atlanta Falcons ignored all those ghosts from the last half-century.

Next up: Super Bowl 51.

Ryan threw for 392 yards and four touchdowns in another MVP-worthy showing, while Jones shook off a toe injury to haul in nine catches for 180 yards and two scores, leading the Falcons to a 44-21 blowout of the storied Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship Sunday.

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Manziel attends AFC Championship Game in Brady jersey

Manziel attends AFC Championship Game in Brady jersey

You’ll never guess who the seventh-best quarterback* at Gillette Stadium was Sunday. 

Via video posted on his Snapchat, 2014 Browns first-rounder Johnny Manziel, currently out of the league, attended the AFC Championship wearing a Tom Brady jersey. 

Manziel was released by the Browns last March after two seasons and just eight starts. Had he played this season, he would have been suspended for the first four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. 

*He might have been eighth-best. Julian Edelman played quarterback in college. People forget that.