According to multiple reports, the Patriots picked up the fifth-year option for linebacker Dont'a Hightower. The Patriots had until May 3 to decide on the option, which will be worth the average of the third through 25th highest salaries for linebackers. Last year's figure was $7.751 million.
There has yet to be any report indicating the status of Chandler Jones' option. Both Hightower (25th overall) and Jones (21st) were first-round picks in 2012 and therefore had fifth-year options on their contracts.
The option is guaranteed for injury only and the Patriots could still decide to release him anytime before the start of the new league year next March.
Hightower enjoyed his best seasons in 2014, finishing with 92 tackles, 6 sacks and 12 quarterback hits. But he's also coming off surgery for a torn labrum that some reports indicate could keep him out at the start of the season. Assuming the shoulder rehab goes as planned, Hightower figures to be a big part of the front seven for the foreseeable future.
It will be interesting to see if the team opts to do the same with Jones before Sunday's deadline. As is the case with Hightower, though, the option doesn't fully guarantee until the start of the 2016 league year.