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Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower have fifth-year options picked up by Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots have picked up the fifth-year contract options for defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont'a Hightower, which hardly comes as a surprise. This means both players are under contract to the team through the 2016 season.

Jones' salary for 2016 will be $7.79 million, while Hightower's salary for 2016 will be $7.751 million.

At the NFL's annual meeting in March, owner Robert Kraft was speaking about the team's contract offer to cornerback Darrelle Revis when he said, "Next year we have three very good young defensive players coming up and we have to factor that." That was presumably a reference to Jones and Hightower, as well as linebacker Jamie Collins, all of whom now have contracts that expire after the 2016 season.

Given Kraft's remarks, it was hard to imagine a scenario in which the team didn't pick up the fifth-year options for Jones and Hightower. May 3 is the deadline to make those decisions.

How the Patriots navigate three different negotiations with key players bears watching in the future. The team and Collins can't execute an extension until the start of the 2016 league year, per NFL rules.