According to Mike Reiss, the New England Patriots frequently let their own free agents test the market before signing them later.
Take safety Devin McCourty, who inked a five-year, $47.5 million contract in 2015.
CBS SPORTS: HIGHTOWER WON'T BE FRANCHISED
"The goal is for these free agents to field offers from teams and come back to New England with a number," Pats Pulpit said. "The Patriots will then respond with their counter-offer and if the player wants to remain in New England under the proposed price tag, then the two sides will come to terms."
The New England Patriots elected not to franchise linebacker Dont'a Hightower, making him a free agent. Despite his ability to go anywhere, the linebacker is favored to return to New England, according to new odds from BookMaker.eu.
Hightower is a -125 favorite to play for the Patriots next season, meaning you'd need to bet $125 to win $100.
The 27-year-old had 65 tackles and 2.5 sacks for New England last season. He had a career-high six sacks during the 2014 campaign.
STEPHEN OH (78-50), ZACK CIMINI (23-8) AND KENNY WHITE (27-16) ARE DESTROYING THE BOOKS IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL; SEE TODAY'S BEST BETS NOW
The Miami Dolphins are 9/2 to get Hightower in free agency, according to BookMaker. The Patriots' division rivals were 30th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game at 140.4 and have relied on the likes of Koa Misi and Jelani Jenkins at linebacker.
The Dallas Cowboys are always in the market for talent, and at BookMaker, they're 10/1 to land Hightower. "If I have a chance to bring one of these premier pass rusher, one of these war daddies that takes two to block, if I have a chance to get a player like that, I would," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram recently.
The San Francisco 49ers are 35/2 to get Hightower. They were dead last in the NFL at stopping the run last season (165.9 yards per game) and are reportedly switching to a 4-3 this year, adding to Hightower's allure.
From BookMaker.eu: Dont'a Hightower team in Week 1 of 2017-18 regular season:
- New England Patriots -125
- Miami Dolphins +450
- Dallas Cowboys +1000
- San Francisco 49ers +1750
- Field +150