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Free Agency Fits: Dont'a Hightower To The Redskins?

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NFL.com's Elliot Harrison highlighted some of the top free agents that will soon hit the open market and their best fits, mentions the Redskins as a possible destination for Dont'a Hightower.

It is expected once the league calendar flips over to a new year that the Washington Redskins will go heavy on defensive player acquisitions.

While the Redskins already have Pro Bowlers such as Ryan Kerrigan at outside linebacker and Josh Norman at cornerback, they're going to be in search for additional talent on the defensive side of the football.

Could one of those brought in to bolster the unit be inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower?

In his "Free Agent Fits" article this week, NFL.com's Elliot Harrison listed the Redskins as one of three teams that could be best suited for the 26-year-old along with the Indianapolis Colts and Oakland Raiders.

While Harrison mentions that the Raiders have already claimed inside linebacker is a hole they'll have to fill and the Colts are desperate to rebuild under a new general manager, the Redskins may be the most "interesting match" for Hightower.

Harrison notes that Hightower could provide leadership traits that the team hasn't seen since London Fletcher's retirement in 2013.

"The 'Skins are in their best cap shape in years, yet have several important free agents in their own driveway to consider first: [Kirk] Cousins, Jamison Crowder, Rob Kelley," Harrison writes. "Most importantly: The Colts, Redskins and Raiders all gave up at least 4.5 yards per carry in 2016."

So who exactly is Hightower as a player?

In five seasons with the New England Patriots, the 2012 first-round pick has collected 372 tackles along with 17 sacks, 12 passes defensed, two fumbles forced and a safety.

The Alabama product recorded a sack and a key forced fumble in New England's comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

Just this week, John Keim of ESPN.com looked at the potential of Hightower joining the Redskins as a free agent addition.

"The former first-round pick has played well in big games and is versatile," Keim writes. "Hightower can play a number of linebacker spots, allowing a coordinator to be creative. He has shown he can play inside or outside, depending on the package. In the Super Bowl, for example, Hightower was aligned as an inside linebacker behind some three-man fronts and as the game wore on, he was aligned more on the edge -- like a 3-4 outside linebacker. He's excellent against the run from either spot and can drop into zones and cover OK."

However, Keim notes that Hightower could demand a yearly salary of $11 million. That would be one of the highest for an inside linebacker in the NFL today. 

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