The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2017 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Nevertheless, what must be done must be done, and we are now at the time of the year where we close the book on one season and look ahead to the next.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2016 season.
Player: Robert Golden
Experience: 6 Years
I realize that he is no longer on the team, but the purpose of this series is supposed to be recapping and in some ways emulating the exit meeting process for the 2017 season, and Robert Golden was a key member of the team in 2017, so he obviously would have gotten the exit meeting treatment before he was released. He is the second-to-last player I will be covering, skipping the likes of Steven Johnson, Terrell Watson, and Stevan Ridley, who are no longer on the team and also did not play a significant role last season.
Golden originally made the roster as an undrafted free agent in 2013, a conversion project from cornerback to safety, though some of his first playing time on defense actually came as a slot defender and he continued to play in coverage situations when he was not starting.
Primarily known for his presence on special teams, he was a two-year captain of the unit before the team decided to use a rotating, meritorious approach to choosing weekly captains. I believe he may have been captain for a week this past season after he completed a pass on a fake punt to Darrius Heyward-Bey, the second pass of his career.
But Golden was still a contributor on defense this past season, even recording two starts in place of Mike Mitchell due to injury. He was initially passed on the depth chart as the top reserve safety by J.J. Wilcox, but regained his position after the first few weeks of the year.
He recorded 10 combined tackles with an interception and a pass defensed in the two games that he started last season, recording 19 tackles in all during the year, some of which came on special teams. He plays on most units, including as the upback on the punting unit, a key position.
Golden was heading into the third year of a three-year contract when he was released and was scheduled to make around $1.5 million in 2018. Given his status as a backup, and the hope that Wilcox could be better, the team felt the cap savings of about $1 million would be worth it, though I’m still not entirely convinced we’ve seen the last of him in Pittsburgh, depending on how the offseason goes.