Alex Highsmith, Steelers Agree to 4-Year, $68M Contract Extension Ahead of Camp

Adam WellsJuly 19, 2023

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JANUARY 01: Alex Highsmith #56 of the Pittsburgh Steelers lines up during an NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on January 01, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
Michael Owens/Getty Images

When the Pittsburgh Steelers report to training camp next week, star pass-rusher Alex Highsmith will be able to celebrate his new contract with the rest of his teammates.

Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Highsmith has agreed to a four-year, $68 million extension with the Steelers. Highsmith's agents confirmed the deal to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Even though it took time to get this deal done, there didn't seem to be any concern from Highsmith about whether it would happen. He told reporters during mandatory minicamp in June he was "confident" where talks were at.

Head coach Mike Tomlin said at the same time he considered Highsmith to be an "elite Robin" with T.J. Watt as the Batman for the Steelers defense, but they "like to challenge him in that way."

While minicamp ended without an agreement, Highsmith told Michael Cuneo of the Wilmington StarNews last week he was "still confident" something would get done.

"I'm excited for what the future holds and know that I want to be in Pittsburgh because I love everything about the organization," he added.

Highsmith was entering the final season of his rookie contract. A four-year extension will take him through the 2027 season.

The $17 million average annual value of Highsmith's new deal is tied with Chandler Jones of the Las Vegas Raiders and Shaquil Barrett of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 10th-most among edge-rushers.

A third-round draft pick by the Steelers in 2020, Highsmith was used primarily as a rotation player during his rookie season. He did start five games and recorded two sacks.

The Steelers put him in the starting lineup beginning in 2021. He had a solid season with 15 tackles for loss and six sacks.

After Watt suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Week 1 of the 2022 campaign that caused him to miss seven games, Hightower kept the defense playing at a high level. The 25-year-old finished sixth in the NFL with 14.5 sacks and had a pressure rate of 13.8 percent.