We always see intra-divisional player stealing in the NFL more than any other sport. This tactic is generally used as a way to get an upper hand on playbooks and coaching schemes. Other times, coaches leave and take players with them.
In the case of the Miami Dolphins signing former New England Patriots this offseason, it was more of the latter than the former, although teams have been trying to get a whiff of Bill Belichick's playbook for a long time. Former Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores was hired as the head coach in Miami. Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts soon followed.
One major Flores acolyte still remains in New England, veteran linebacker Dont'a Hightower. The Pats long-time defensive leader on defense will be 31 in 2021, but he still brings a lot to the table. Depending on how 2020 goes for New England, they may continue to rebuild with youth next offseason (like they did in the NFL Draft), rather than re-sign a player like Hightower.
Whether the Pats let him walk or go after him, it's hard to argue that Brian Flores won't be their top competition for Hightower's next contract. The Dolphins HC has already brought in two of his former linebackers, why not hook the biggest fish from his old school. This Miami defense is already transforming into a competent looking group after one year under Flores, this signing would only add to that blueprint moving forward.
According to Pro Football Reference, Hightower actually had his most influential season in 2019 with 71 total tackles, 5.5 sacks on 13 quarterback hits, eight tackles for a loss and four pass defenses. His PFR Approximate Value metric was the highest it's ever been in his career, at a plus-17 rating.
Even with Van Noy and Roberts, this Dolphins linebacking corps could use some help. Hightower would probably fit better in the middle of a 3-4 Miami D, but he has played outside for the Patriots at times throughout his tenure.
Wherever Flores decides to use him, the veteran leadership and experience that Dont'a could bring to this young roster is irreplaceable in this sport. Brian Flores knows that, and he will not hesitate to steal another Patriot given the opportunity.
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Michael Obermuller is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Michael Obermuller also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username king_mizzard. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.