UPDATE (7:50 p.m.): Per CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, Golden’s visit will actually take place tomorrow.
In need of some serious outside linebacker depth, the Pittsburgh Steelers are hosting veteran pass rusher Markus Golden for a visit Tuesday, according to Jordan Schultz.
Golden, a second-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Missouri, has spent time with the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants in his nine-year career. During that time, Golden has recorded 47.0 career sacks, including three seasons of 10-plus, including a career-high of 12.5 sacks in the 2016 season and 11.0 sacks in 2021.
While with the Giants in 2019, Golden recorded 10.0 sacks.
Golden, 32, checks in at 6’3, 260 pounds and has played 4,871 snaps in his career. He is coming off of a 2022 season in which he played 781 snaps for the Cardinals — the second most of his career in a season — and recorded a 65.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, including a 62.9 pass rush grade.
Golden recorded four sacks, 17 quarterback hits and 25 hurries for 46 total pressures last season on 471 pass rush reps.
The Steelers have a major need for OLB3 behind star T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. Currently, rookie fourth-round pick Nick Herbig and third-year pro Quincy Roche are the two backups to Watt and Highsmith, which isn’t all that comforting.
Pittsburgh attempted to go with the high-end veteran in a reserve role in 2021 with Melvin Ingram, but that backfired quickly as he requested a trade due to him being unhappy with his role backing up Highsmith and Watt. Should Pittsburgh go down that path again with a player like Golden, the role would have to be clearly defined, especially for a player the caliber of Golden. He is still playing at a respectable level at 32 years old and could still be a decent starting-caliber outside linebacker in the league.
We’ll see if the Steelers and Golden are able to come to terms on a contract, but it’s quite intriguing that Pittsburgh is dipping its toes back into the free agent market and taking a look at a proven pass rusher like Golden to shore up the depth chart behind Highsmith and Watt.