The Steelers are hoping to work out an extension with breakout star Alex Highsmith and cement him and T.J. Watt as the bookends of their pass rush for the next few years. However, that does not mean that rumors are not starting to swirl around Highsmith.
Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox talked about who could be trade candidates for the Steelers prior to the season, and he tabbed Highsmith as someone to pay attention to in particular. Highsmith was joined by Zach Gentry and Kevin Dotson on the list.
“While the Steelers tend to do a good job of keeping their own players, there’s no guarantee that they can retain Highsmith if he reaches 2024 free agency,” Knox wrote. “Pittsburgh is already projected to be $6.7 million over the cap next year. And Highsmith would undoubtedly bring a spicy trade package back if he’s dealt to a pass-rusher-needy team. He’s young, he’s productive, and he’s set to carry a cap hit of just under $3 million this season. Virtually any contender would be happy to land Highsmith, and a high Day-2 draft selection would likely be his value floor.”
There are a few things here to take into consideration. For one, the only scenario this likely happens is if the Steelers and Highsmith are far apart on negotiations and things hit a lull. Maybe, that could happen. But it’s far likelier based on everything that’s been said that Highsmith signs long term.