With the ink barely dry on the numerous other key signings the New England Patriots have made this offseason, the defending Super Bowl champions just re-signed linebacker Dont'a Hightower to a four-year, $43.5 million deal. At the age of 27, Hightower is set to continue his reliable linebacker play for the next four years of his prime. He finished the 2016 season with 2.5 sacks and 65 tackles, and was also named a captain for the first time in his Patriots career.

Super Bowl superstar

Hightower has been a major factor in both of New England's most recent Super Bowl victories. Against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX he tackled Marshawn Lynch on the 1-yard line with just over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.

This would set up the infamous playcall by Pete Carroll that resulted in a Malcolm Butler interception and Patriot win.

Dont'a Hightower also caused a key fumble by Falcon's quarterback Matt Ryan in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LI, allowing the Patriot's offense to execute the most impressive comeback in Super Bowl history.

Hightower returns to an even better team

In just the last week, the Patriots have made impressive additions to their already impressive roster, signing free-agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore and the much desired star receiver Brandin Cooks in a trade with the Saints.

Although they lost tight end Martellus Bennett to the Packers, they quickly replaced him with former Colt's tight end Dwayne Allen.

The New England Patriots organization has been putting on a clinic this offseason, showing how the combination of a trusted front office with respected ownership and a habit of winning Super Bowls can land you stud free agents and retain homegrown playmakers.

By letting Hightower test the market before making an offer, the Patriot's banked on him finding any other landing spot to be undesirable (like the Jets, yikes) while keeping channels open and not insulting Hightower with a low offer.

It really goes to show how success builds on success, and how competent ownership paired with a brilliant coach and the best quarterback of all time generally leads to winning football games.

If you listen closely you can hear every other organization scribbling down notes.

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