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Report: Steelers sign LB Alex Highsmith to 4-year, $68 million extension

The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed Alex Highsmith to a 4-year, $68 million extension.

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

The Pittsburgh Steelers are signing linebacker Alex Highsmith to a four-year, $68 million extension, per Ian Rapoport. This new deal could keep the young LB in Pittsburgh through 2027. The former third-round pick was set to play this season under the final year of his rookie deal.

The Steelers are known for their stout defensive presence and have longed for their offense to catch back up. Cam Heyward and TJ Watt anchor the line, while this year’s secondary gets a boost from veteran Patrick Peterson to complement rookie Joey Porter Jr. and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Highsmith has shown he can help rush the edge or drop into coverage. The biggest missing piece for the Pittsburgh defense this year will be that field general middle linebacker, but Highsmith has the talent, so he could partially fill that role when not getting after the quarterback.

Highsmith was drafted out of Charlotte in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He played in 16 games as a rookie and finished with 48 total tackles, two sacks and an interception. Highsmith took a big step forward last season and had a career year with 63 tackles, 14.5 sacks and five forced fumbles in 17 games.