2023 Offseason Questions: Will Steelers Sign OLB Markus Golden?

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? How might they tackle the NFL Draft? 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: Will the Steelers sign edge rusher Markus Golden today?

The Steelers have shown this offseason that they want to bolster their outside linebacker depth. They hosted Bud Dupree some time ago, though it doesn’t appear that they ever reached the point of talking hard numbers. He ended up signing with Atlanta, but they didn’t bring him in just for a reunion.

Now they have another veteran pass rusher, Markus Golden, reportedly due to visit the team facility today. Will he leave without signing a contract? Will he leave at all? Drafted the same year as Dupree in 2015, the two have rather similar career numbers, though neither has been at their most productive recently—with the exception of Golden’s 2021 season.

While the Steelers drafted linebacker Nick Herbig in the fourth round, they have since started hedging their bets by describing him as position-flexible. Will he end up inside or outside? If inside, then that leaves a glaring hole behind the team’s starting outside linebackers.

Golden has never made the big money, so that wouldn’t be an issue. The largest deal he’s had in any one season was a little over $4 million. He signed a two-year, $5 million contract in 2021. Last year, before the start of the season, he signed a $4.5 million extension for 2023, but he was cut before the start of the new league year, losing out on his largest potential salary.

He signed that extension coming off of a strong 2021 campaign that saw him record 11 sacks, the second most in a single season in his career, but he had just 2.5 last year in 17 games. His pressure numbers, however, did not indicate as steep a drop-off as the sacks would suggest.

At 32 years old, he certainly still has something left in the tank, and he would offer more than anybody else the Steelers currently have under contract behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, so I’m sure they’re hoping pen touches paper before he leaves the building.

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