The past few years the Pittsburgh Steelers have given out new contracts to players before, or during, the team’s training camp/preseason. The biggest deal was done with Kevin Colbert as the General Manager (GM) when the team inked T.J. Watt to a mega-deal. Last season it was Minkah Fitzpatrick cashing in with Omar Khan calling the shots, and Khan also locked up Diontae Johnson during training camp last season.
The Steelers have a history of locking up the players they value, and many are seeing Alex Highsmith as next on their list.
Highsmith is coming off a 14.5 sack season, and his stock might never be higher. It makes sense for Highsmith and his representation to want to get a deal done as soon as possible. From a Steelers perspective, they could try and sign Highsmith now, before another tremendous season would cause his price tag to increase, but they could also play out Highsmith’s rookie deal and negotiate after the season.
Roughly a month ago sources from inside the Steelers organization stated a deal between the Steelers and Highsmith was essentially done. All that was left was the semantics of signing bonus and how they wanted to structure the deal. With the reports of the Steelers showing interest in Chase Young, it is unclear how that could impact these negotiations.
At ESPN, they took a look at players who are set to hit free agency in 2024, and how contract talks are going. Here is what they reported about Highsmith:
Alex Highsmith, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Latest on negotiations: With megadeals negotiated in the past two offseasons for T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Steelers’ extension to-do list is a little less daunting this summer. The team has engaged with Highsmith’s representation, but Highsmith has been coy on the exact progress between the two sides. A year ago, the Steelers inked Fitzpatrick to his four-year, $73.6 million deal just after mandatory minicamp, a departure from their usual pattern of completing contracts up against their self-imposed Week 1 deadline. With general manager Omar Khan again in charge of negotiations as a second-year general manager, Highsmith could also see a deal sooner rather than later.
Highsmith displayed his value in 2022 with a career-best 14.5 sacks, and the Steelers are optimistic about reviving a solid three-man outside linebacker rotation with the addition of Markus Golden. Still, Pittsburgh doesn’t seem likely to shell out a huge contract for Highsmith. A four-year deal in the neighborhood of $14 million per year would give him the fourth-largest cap hit on this year’s Steelers roster.
Will the Steelers get a deal done before training camp? Or will they play the long game and take a wait-and-see approach after the 2023 regular season to see how Highsmith plays out the final year of his rookie contract?
Let us know your thoughts/predictions in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.