Patriots Talk: Pseudo 'contract year' for Hightower, Jones

Patriots Talk: Pseudo 'contract year' for Hightower, Jones
June 25, 2014, 12:45 pm
Share This Post

The Patriots pleasantly surprised fans during the 2012 NFL Draft by trading up for Chandler Jones and then up again for Dont'a Hightower in the first round.

It appears that those were two smart moves by the Bill Belichick and the front office.

But wow, does time fly. Both of those players will be due for contracts in two seasons, and the Patriots like to get those things out of the way ahead of time.

So, how are the Jones and progressing? The guys on Patriots Talk TV discuss.

"I think they're both on the way up," Mike Giardi said. "I really like the way Hightower overcame the adversity of last year, maybe too much on his plate. But developed and came on like gangbusters at the end of the year. That's the kind of player I thought that they had drafted. I like that, I like the confidence. There's clearly a air of confidence about him that he has not had since he's been here."

As good as Hightower has been, Jones has been more impressive. He's already hit double-digit sacks in a season, and it sure seems like he's only getting better. But the Pats need to get him some help.

"I think when you're talking about Jones, the key is getting him off the field," Phil Perry said. "Like you said Mike, he was on the field for way too many plays I think last year by the end of the season he kind of tailed off a bit. I think if they can find a third rusher, whether it's Will Smith or Michael Buchanon, or they drop down Jamie Collins or Hightower himself to rush the passer a little bit. That gives a chance for Jones to take a little bit of a breather and maybe make those snaps that he is out there all the more worthwhile."

Curran agrees with Perry, saying Jones plays way too many snaps currently. The more they can rotate guys in, the longer he'll be effective on the field.

"You're always going to want him out there on third down . . . 70-plus tackles for Chandler Jones because he played inside so much. Not built for that. Hopefully the Patriots do get a little bit more exotic to get him off that huge, huge workload."