INDIANAPOLIS — Alex Highsmith is going nowhere if Steelers general manager Omar Khan is to be believed after a bombastic show of support from Khan at the NFL Combine on Tuesday.
After Highsmith had a career season in 2022 after posting 14.5 sacks and 5 forced fumbles, he is entering his contract year. So, that leaves the Steelers with some potentially tough decisions in regard to Highsmith. However, it seems that Khan and the Steelers are not going to let the Charlotte product go anywhere.
“I think you guys know our history when we have a young up-and-coming player, you know, we don’t like to let those guys go,” Khan said.
That’s all he said, and that’s about as clear on the line as you can get. Highsmith is T.J. Watt’s running mate and the two have combined to become one of the more prolific pass-rushing duos in the NFL. Now, that means that Highsmith will likely have his contract talks with the Steelers in the Spring and Summer in order to get his deal done.
Alex Highsmith could command a pretty penny, however. Pittsburgh has Kenny Pickett under his rookie contract which can help but with so much already invested in the defense, it might be stark to add another big deal to that group with Highsmith. Still, with his on-field performance, it is hard to argue against bringing Highsmith back beyond just the 2023 season.
However, Khan has been able to work cap wizardry in the past to snake around some of the NFL’s pesky cap numbers. As one of the best cap gurus in the NFL, Khan will have to work his magic on this deal, too. But with Highsmith emerging as a true game-changer for the Steelers opposite of Watt, it seems that Highsmith will be the next young player that the Steelers will pay a hefty price to keep around.