On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly agreed to a four-year extension worth $68 million with pass rusher Alex Highsmith. The move is something the Buffalo Bills are going to have to take note of as they likely will be entering contract negotiations with one of their young pass rushers after this season.
After the 2023 season, former first round pick Greg Rousseau will be eligible for a contract extension. He will be entering the final season of his rookie contract but Buffalo can pick up his fifth year option, which is almost a guarantee at this point, and keep him under contract through the 2025 season.
It isn't critical that the Bills try to sign Rousseau to a contract extension next offseason but with the recent contract for Hightower, it might make sense to do it sooner rather than later. The average salary of $17 million ranks 12th among edge rushers, according to Spotrac, and should be the starting point for negotiations between the Bills and Rousseau.
Breakout season from Greg Rousseau in 2023 will put pressure on the Buffalo Bills
Alex Highsmith was a third round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020 and had modest production his first two years in the league. During that stretch, he had only eight total sacks and 21 QB hits but last year broke out with 14.5 sacks and 20 QB hits with five forced fumbles.
The first two years for Greg Rousseau have been a little more productive than Highsmith as he has had 12 total sacks and 24 QB hits. However, everything seems to align for the former University of Miami pass rusher to have a similar breakout season this upcoming year.
The Buffalo Bills are expected to be a more aggressive defense and have a better pass rush with the addition of Leonard Floyd and the return of Von Miller. If he does have that breakout season, the Buffalo Bills will need to be prepared to offer Rousseau a similar contract to what Alex Highsmith just signed.