Alex Highsmith Takes Firm Stance on Contract with Steelers

Alex Highsmith

Getty Alex Highsmith celebrates a sack.

It’s an intense time for rookies in the last year of their contracts. Typically, one of two scenarios happens: The player signs an extension, or he plays out the final year. Heading into his fourth season, Pittsburgh Steelers edge-rusher Alex Highsmith finds himself in that very situation.

While the Steelers’ plans for him are unknown, Highsmith knows what he’d like those plans to be and clarified his stance on a recent House of Yinzer podcast episode.

“I love being here, being part of this team,” Highsmith said. “This organization is amazing, being part of the defense is amazing and the fans are awesome. Mr. [Art] Rooney [II], Omar [Khan], coach [Mike] Tomlin — he’s one of the best coaches I’ve had. It’s just awesome being able to play for him.

“We’ll see you know. God’s got a plan with it all. I’ll trust in him the whole way. But I do love it here and I love the fans — Steelers Nation as a whole is great.”

President Art Rooney II on Alex Highsmith’s Future With Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers typically hammer out deals with players heading into the final year of their contract. Still, it doesn’t take precedence over a player whose contract expires, like the case with cornerback Cam Sutton. While the two parties could reach an agreement in the months ahead, there’s a possibility a decision on Alex Highsmith’s future could be held over until next offseason.

Like he and the Steeler brass are so good at doing, team president Art Rooney II danced around the issue when asked about Highsmith’s status moving forward and if he’d receive an extension sooner than later.

“No doubt Alex had a great season, and we look forward to having him on the team,” Rooney told Bob Pompeani in a January 26 KDKA interview. “I think he and T.J. [Watt] can be a strong combination rushing from both sides, a little bit like Bud [Dupree] was with T.J. for a couple of years there. We’ll see what happens with the contract, but we’re happy to have Alex, too.”

Alex Highsmith’s Career 2022 Season With the Steelers

Alex Highsmith earned the starting nod in his second season, as Bud Dupree signed a big deal with the Tennessee Titans in 2021 free agency. It took him a couple of seasons to wreak havoc, but there was no looking back once he did.

Though he was snubbed, Highsmith put on a Pro Bowl-caliber season in his third with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He enjoyed the first three-sack game of his young career in Week 1 versus the Cincinnati Bengals. While less disruptive with T.J. Watt sidelined, Highsmith still contributed 3.5 sacks, 13 tackles, five tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, a defended pass and one forced fumble in those seven weeks.

After declaring a 10.0-sack season goal, the 2020 third-round pick revised his target to 16 with five games left. He fell one short of that mission on his way to a career season, ranking fifth in sacks (15), second in forced fumbles, 21st in total pressures (55) and 25th in pass rush productivity, according to Pro Football Focus.

There’s no doubt Highsmith deserves a contract extension, and it sounds like the Steelers agree. Now it’s just a matter of if and when they’ll follow through and what the terms will look like.