It is the time of the offseason when all 32 teams are in the lull between offseason workouts and the start of training camp. While every team will report to camp on a different date, it also provides organizations with an opportunity to finalize deals before the start of camp.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, it is likely debatable in regards to what might be one last move to make before the team reports to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. While the fan base has stated they believe the team still needs to address the inside linebacker position, Field Yates of ESPN suggests the final move should be something else.
That something out would be in the form of a contract extension for Alex Highsmith. Check out the explanation for this line of thinking:
Extend linebacker Alex Highsmith
T.J. Watt has established himself as one of the best players in the league, but let’s not overlook Highsmith’s impact in that linebacker room, too. He wreaks havoc opposite Watt. A career year in 2022 (14.5 sacks) for Highsmith was a great way to lead into his first extension-eligible offseason, and Pittsburgh has a lengthy track record of drafting, developing and extending its own. Pegging the price for Highsmith is a little tricky — this offseason has been dominated by defensive tackle extensions, not edge rusher extensions — but I would think something in the $15-16 million per year range is a reasonable target.
Highsmith still has one year left on his rookie contract, and some believe the team, and in a way Highsmith, would be better off waiting until after 2023 to address a new contract. It would be a risk for both parties involved.
If Highsmith has another double-digit sack season, coming off a 14.5 sack performance in 2022, his price tag would go up. A win for Highsmith, but a financial loss for the Steelers.
If Highsmith isn’t able to duplicate the success he saw last season, he would then be forced to accept a lower level contract compared to what might be offered if he would have signed this offseason. A win for the Steelers, and a financial loss for the Steelers.
Ultimately, signing a deal before the start of this season would hopefully make it a win-win for the Steelers and Highsmith, ultimately resulting in increased production with the security of a new contract in the rear view mirror.
Do you think this is something which will happen? Let us know your thoughts 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.