Steelers History Says Don’t Bet Against Summer Contract Extension For OLB Alex Highsmith

With the 2023 NFL draft now behind us, it will be interesting to see if the Pittsburgh Steelers wind up getting any contract extensions done moving forward from now until the start of the regular season. The main player to watch for when it comes to a possible contract extension is outside linebacker Alex Highsmith and already I’m seeing several fans of the team thinking that won’t ultimately happen. Personally, I wouldn’t bet against Highsmith signing one before Week 1 of the 2023 regular season.

As I have stated in previous posts this offseason, the Steelers three-year cash spending flow indicates that the team does indeed have enough money set aside for a Highsmith contract extension. On top of that, the team should be able to easily accommodate a rise in Highsmith’s 2023 salary cap charge should indeed a fair market value contract extension wind up being consummated. In short, the cash and cap plausibly work.

Beyond all of that, the Steelers have a long history of getting at least one lucrative contract extension done from June 1 until the start of their first regular season dating all the way back to 2014, a string of nine years. In case you need your memory jogged, below is a list of post June 1 notable contract extensions that the Steelers have consummated since 2014.


S Minkah Fitzpatrick 6/15/22
Chris Boswell 8/2/22
Diontae Johnson 8/4/22


OLB T.J. Watt 9/9/21


DT Cameron Heyward 9/7/20


CB Joe Haden 9/2/19


K Chris Boswell 8/22/18
ILB Vince Williams 8/23/18


T Alejandro Villanueva 7/17/17
DE Stephon Tuitt 9/9/17


ILB Vince Williams 8/23/16
G David DeCastro 9/8/16


DT Cameron Heyward 7/16/15


C Maurkice Pouncey 6/12/14
K Shaun Suisham 8/1/14
T Marcus Gilbert 8/19/14

That’s quite a long streak of summer contract extensions for the Steelers. According to my records, the last time the Steelers didn’t get a notable summer contract extension done with a player was way back in 2013.

Several weeks ago, I laid out what my prediction is when it comes to a possible summer contract extension for Highsmith, and I have no reason to update those numbers after the draft. While the Steelers did select outside linebacker Nick Herbig in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL draft out of Wisconsin, I don’t believe them doing so impacts Highsmith’s extension possibilities.

Last year, we witnessed general manager Omar Khan be able to get safety Minkah Fitzpatrick signed to his extension well prior to the start of the team’s 2022 training camp. Will he be able to do the same with Highsmith this year? It’s hard to say for sure. At the very least, I will be quite surprised if Highsmith’s not signed to an extension come Week 1 of the 2023 regular season and quite honestly, all of you should be as well.

Stay tuned.

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