What will Alex Highsmith's Steelers expansion look like? (2023)

along withSteelersAfter completing the team's first OTA week, the organization's offseason progressed with increased activity. The OTA will run until June 8 before the mandatory mini-camp begins on June 13.

Notable storylines in Pittsburgh so far include quarterback Kenny Pickett's continued growth as a sophomore, the emergence of new veterans like Patrick Peterson and Isaac Semalo, Broderick Jones, and young players like Joey Porter Jr. and Calvin Austin coming in one after the other.

Another thread worth mentioning? Team renewals before the start of the 2023 preseason.

Last year, Pittsburgh presented new contracts to Diontae Johnson ($36.71 million for two years) and Chris Boswell ($20 million for four years) during training camp in early August. The player most likely to get an overtime this year is edge rusher Alex Highsmith.

In 2022, Highsmith releases career numbers. His 14.5 sacks surpassed his two years combined and ranked sixth in the NFL overall. In addition, Highsmith recorded five forced fumbles in the league, plus a total of 55 pushes and 12 tackles. He's done really well, even surpassing some real stars.

for reference,#SteelersOLB Alex Highsmith had more sacks last year than:

Micah Parsons
Max Crosby
Brian is on fire
Danielle Hunt
Zadarius Smith
Khalil Mack

More stress than:

Bradley Chubb
Aidan Hutchinson
Chinin Williams

Very impressive name to lead.pic.twitter.com/LPLiPLX5xE

(Video) When Will Alex Highsmith Get A Contract Extension With The Pittsburgh Steelers?
– Bradley Locker (@Bradley_Locker)25. May 2023

Highsmith, a third-round pick in 2020, arrives in 2023 in the final year of his four-year rookie contract. As a result, Omar Khan and the Steelers will need to engage in contract negotiations before Highsmith has a chance to hit the open market this summer.

According to BTSC's Jeff Hartman, the team is doing just that. in itsAct on May 22ndOn the "Let's Ride" podcast, Hartman reported that Highsmith's extension could come at the start of minicamp or training camp. Additionally, Hartman pointed out that ongoing negotiations between the two camps are about structure (eg, guaranteed deposits, signing bonuses, etc.) rather than financial issues.

(Video) Steelers OTAs latest: Is potential Alex Highsmith extension the right move?

According to Hartman, the deal could take three to four years and be worth "approximately" $17 million a year, which is a "fair market." Spotrac estimates that Highsmith's market value is $55.636 million over four years, which translates to $13.91 million per year.

Based on last year's production - and his career - what's an approximate range for Highsmith? What could the structure of the deal look like? Let's take a closer look.

One of the main criticisms of Highsmith from the start was that T.J. Watt was injured from weeks two through ninth despite excelling in almost every statistical category last season. Below is a breakdown of Highsmith's stats per game a year ago with and without Watts.

Highsmith with/without Watts, 2022

Statistics (per game) Highsmith without Watts (7 games) Highsmith With Watt (10 Spiele)
Statistics (per game) Highsmith without Watts (7 games) Highsmith With Watt (10 Spiele)
Sack 0,5 1.1
Print 2,86 3.5
TFL 0,714 0,7
forced fumbling 0,142 0,4

Print data via PFF.

As the team's main pass rusher, Highsmith has more than halved his sack attempts while also generating less pressure and forced fumble without watts. However, all figures are still very reliable and can easily be extrapolated to a full year.

(Video) Alex Highsmith Needs Extended – Will Pittsburgh Steelers Be Able? + ALWAYS Draft RB in the 1st Round

It's also important to remember: Highsmith didexpectedTied with Watt as the team's second-best rusher. Meeting Highsmith's work double-teamed with Watt is inherently counter-intuitive because it isExactlyWhat the Steelers want happen. The duo form one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL and complement each other's sharpness.

Regardless of Watts, Highsmith has evolved as a pass rusher throughout his three seasons in the NFL, perfecting his repertoire (see: his deadly spin action) while maintaining the foundation of a great running defense. Highsmith had a 73.3 PFF run rating for 16 last seasonTagView 500+ snaps at EDGE in the NFL and beat the likes of Za'Darius Smith, Danielle Hunter and Myles Garrett.

Highsmith, who is not yet 26, has 22.5 sacks, 114 pressing, 32 tackles and six forced fumbles in 49 games of his career. How do these play-by-play averages compare to rim defenders getting lucrative overtime? Here's an inside look at several recent major deals and how Highsmith fared.

Highsmith with current extensions

Career stats/games (on signing) Alex Highsmith Harold Landry Bradley Chubb Shaq Barrett Zach Allen
Career stats/games (on signing) Alex Highsmith Harold Landry Bradley Chubb Shaq Barrett Zach Allen
Age (at time of signing) Currently 25.8 25.8 26.3 28.3 25.5
Adenovirus ?? $17.5 million 22 million dollars 17 million dollars 15,25 $
Sack 0,459 0,484 0,531 0,451 0,256
Print 2.32 3.51 3.27 3.09 1,86
TFL 0,653 0,641 0,673 0,598 0,6
forced fumbling 0,122 0,047 0,122 0,163 0

Print data via PFF.

Highsmith's pressing numbers aren't quite on par with Bradley Chubb, Harold Landry or Shaq Barrett (at the time they got their overtimes), but the Steelers have the edge in terms of sacks and tackles.

(Video) Alex Highsmith contract talks and notes from Steelers OTAs

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Chubb, Landry, and Barrett will also be their main pass rushers. Zach Allen, who joined the Broncos this season off, should be No. 2 behind Baron Browning; however, Allen is more of a versatile defensive lineman than a true rusher.

Based on the age, production, and AAV of the four players listed, Highsmith should be making $15.5 million to $18 million a year — though he's clearly the second option behind Watt. With continued growth in contracts at all positions, especially edge rushers, Highsmith could even be out for $20-$22 million, although that feels a bit high considering the roster is above that threshold : Watt, Joey Bosa, Garrett, Khalil Mack, Maxx Crosby, Chubb, Leonard Williams, Von Miller.

Given Hartman's report and Highsmith's age, a four-year deal seems logical. I estimate $66 million over four years, which translates to a $16.5 million AAV of the Charlotte product. That number would rank 15thTagOutperformed players like Emmanuel Ogbah, Allen, Hendrickson, Carl Lawson and Haason Reddick in football.

When Watt signs his massive four-year, $112 million contract in September 2021, Pittsburgh is offering an $80 million guarantee and a $35.59 million signing bonus, plus $8.1 million for the first year of the contract contract. Upper limit. I'm predicting a similar backloading deal for Highsmith, especially one with incentives (e.g.career shellappearances, years of 10 or more sacks, etc.). With a total of $66 million, it appears that $40 million is guaranteed, plus a $150,000-$170,000 contract bonus.

Basically, Steelers fans might have a hard time awarding such a large sum of money to a supplemental edge rusher, especially considering what happened to Bud Dupree. Dupree left Pittsburgh and signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Titans in March 2021. After only two years he was circumcised.

However, there are some key differences. When Dupree signed in Nashville, he was 28; Highsmith won't turn 26 until August. Likewise, Dupree missed most of his two seasons (2016 and 2020) due to injuries, most notably a cruciate ligament rupture in 2020. Highsmith, on the other hand, has shown staying power and only lost one pro game in 2021 due to one groin injury missed.

Pittsburgh's defense boasts some of the league's best and highest-paid guards like Watt, Cam Hayward and Minka Fitzpatrick, but the value that Highsmith offers can hardly be overstated. Given his uptrend, high cap and continued growth, Highsmith should expect to be compensated for his strong performance in 2022 -- and the Steelers should tend to reflect that.

(Video) Should The Pittsburgh Steelers Give Alex Highsmith A Contract Extension?


1. Steelers Rookie Broderick Jones Has Strong Message for T.J. Watt - Alex Highsmith
2. Steelers News After Day 1 Of OTAs: T.J. Watt MISSING From Practice, Alex Highsmith Extension Latest
(Steelers Talk by Chat Sports)
3. Pittsburgh Steelers Rumors Q&A: Sign Yannick Ngakoue? Connor Heyward’s Role + Extend Alex Highsmith?
(Steelers Talk by Chat Sports)
4. Steelers Trade Candidates After 2023 NFL Draft Ft. Alex Highsmith | Pittsburgh Steelers Trade Rumors
(Steelers Talk by Chat Sports)
5. Big Ben & Alex Highsmith talk Super Bowl, Steelers defense, and more! Footbahlin Ep. 21
(Channel Seven)
6. The Ramon Foster Steelers Show - Ep. 307: Pay Alex Highsmith or not?
(DK Pittsburgh Sports | Steelers)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Reed Wilderman

Last Updated: 07/16/2023

Views: 5556

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Reed Wilderman

Birthday: 1992-06-14

Address: 998 Estell Village, Lake Oscarberg, SD 48713-6877

Phone: +21813267449721

Job: Technology Engineer

Hobby: Swimming, Do it yourself, Beekeeping, Lapidary, Cosplaying, Hiking, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Reed Wilderman, I am a faithful, bright, lucky, adventurous, lively, rich, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.