Steelers unlock $7 Million cap space with Alex Highsmith’s contract restructure

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has secured his position for another season, despite being rumored to part ways with the franchise. Tomlin is leaving no stone unturned to implement his unique coaching strategy and back-to-back offseason moves are examples of this.

The Steelers have already moved on from their quarterback Kenny Pickett by trading him to the Philadelphia Eagles. The latest strategic decision of the team involves restructuring the contract of edge defender Alex Highsmith. By converting base salary into bonuses, they have created over $7 million in salary cap space.

NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport revealed the news first. He noted that it is a simple restructure, and the Steelers are only converting base salary into bonuses, as per Steelers Wire. The restructured deal comes on the heels of his breakout season in 2023.

The veteran’s original four-year, $68 million extension made him a key part of the franchise’s defense. With this adjustment, the team now has approximately $18 million in cap space. It is a significant boost from their previous $11 million.

This move couldn’t come at a more opportune time for the Steelers. They have been linked to trade talks for notable players like the San Francisco 49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk, who is in a trade discussion now. The restructure not only provides flexibility for signing rookies but also hints at potential bigger moves on the horizon.

Alex Highsmith’s journey with the Steelers

Alex Highsmith started his journey with the Steelers after being selected by them in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He showcased his potential with his first career interception against the Baltimore Ravens in week 8 of that season, and continued promising performance throughout the season. The veteran emerged as a key contributor in the next season as well, tallying six sacks, 74 tackles, and a forced fumble in 16 games.

The football prodigy’s impact skyrocketed in the 2022 season. His standout performance was in week 10, where he notched two sacks, five tackles, and a forced fumble against the New Orleans Saints. It earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Finishing the season with an impressive 14.5 sacks, he solidified his position as a key player on the Steelers’ defense.

Alex Highsmith
Alex Highsmith (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The momentum carried into 2023 as Highsmith continued to deliver game-changing plays. His interception return for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns in week 2, coupled with seven tackles and a forced fumble, earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week nod. He ended the season with 57 tackles, seven sacks, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions.


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Maliha is an insightful sports writer with over a year of experience focusing on the NFL. Initially venturing into both NFL and NBA coverage, her journey began without a particular affinity for American football. However, her passion for the sport blossomed as she started following football more. Now, a huge NFL fan, Maliha meticulously follows every development within the league. She always wants to ensure her analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date to fellow readers.


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