Update: As of noon, the Patriots accounted for half of the opt-outs across the NFL (6-of-12), with the list of Pats choosing to pass on the 2020 season including Hightower, Marcus Cannon, Brandon Bolden, Patrick Chung, Danyy Vitale and Najee Toran.

The Patriots now have over $29-million in cap space following the opt-outs.

BOSTON (AP) — A person familiar with the situation says New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower has decided to opt out of the 2020 season.

Hightower’s decision was made out of concern for the health of his fiancée and child, who was born earlier this month, the person said. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Patriots have not announced the decision.

Hightower has been a staple of New England’s defense since being drafted in the first round in 2012, helping the Patriots win three Super Bowls.

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