2023 Offseason Questions: How Much Did Markus Golden Cost?

The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.

On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.

Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.

Question: How much did Markus Golden cost?

The Pittsburgh Steelers brought in veteran pass rusher Markus Golden for a visit yesterday. He left having signed a new one-year contract to play for the team in 2023. They have figured out who their third pass rusher is now. The only question is what the cost was.

Not that it would be exorbitant—not at all, in fact. Or at least, not unreasonably so. Golden entered this offseason due to be under contract with the Arizona Cardinals entering this offseason, having signed a one-year, $4.5 million extension (worth up to $6.5 million) in September as he was finishing off a two-year extension in 2022 worth $2.5 million per season.

According to what I could find, it would seem that the extension was at least in part a pay raise for the 2022 season after coming off a strong season with double-digit sacks the year before. He was previously due to earn only a base salary of $2 million for last season prior to the new deal, which included $3.5 million guaranteed, including a $2.16 million signing bonus. He will count half the signing bonus amount against the Cardinals’ cap this year after they released him. Arizona reportedly saved a little over $3 million in cap space by cutting him.

Given that he is coming off a down year with just 2.5 sacks, and the fact that he remained unsigned into the start of OTAs, it’s reasonable to assume that his market value is not at the same place that it was when he signed his previous extension last year.

While I would imagine it would come somewhere north of the veteran minimum, it would not surprise me if it were as low as $2 million, but with a high side of perhaps $4 million. Either way, if he can provide quality depth and the opportunity for rest for T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, it would be a price well worth paying.

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