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Former Steelers OLB Markus Golden Could Return to Team

The Pittsburgh Steelers could potentially look to land Markus Golden back with the team as some depth insurance.

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Steelers OLB Markus Golden

Markus Golden came into the NFL in 2015 and has seen a lot of success throughout his career. That includes seasons of 12.5, 11, and 10 sacks throughout his career. In other words, Golden is not just some scrub the Steelers signed off the street. He’s a legitimately proven veteran pass rusher who has shown an ability to make plays. None of that changed this year, either. In limited snaps, Golden registered four sacks off the bench.

Golden and Nick Herbig were able to help the team bolster a solid pass rush throughout the season as the main rotational pass rushers. But now Golden sits out there as a free agent, and Bleacher Report believes he could be one of the best bargains on the free agency market.

“The best production of Markus Golden’s career is likely in the past, yet he can still be an effective pass-rusher. Last season, he only played 22 percent of snaps in Pittsburgh. He managed four sacks—and a fifth in the postseason—showing he can offer valuable depth at a particularly vital position,” they wrote.

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound linebacker was the Cardinals’ second-round pick in there 2015 NFL Draft out of Missouri, taken two picks after the Steelers selected cornerback Senquez Golson.

Golden was an immediate contributor for the Cardinals, starting six games as a rookie and then breaking out with a 12.5-sack season in 2016. He missed time with injuries in 2017 and 2019, and left Arizona, signing as a free agent with the New York Giants.

Golden posted a 10-sack season with Big Blue in 2019 and re-signed in New York for 2020. In Oct. 2020, he was traded back to the Cardinals for a sixth-round draft pick.

In his first full season back in the desert in 2021, Golden again posted double-digit sack totals with 11. He also had four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a pass defensed.

But inconsistency remained the issue for Golden. In 2022, he started 14 games, the second-most in his career, and played in all 17, but posted just 2.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Now, he could return to the Steelers to help reinforce the depth chart at outside linebacker.

However, in his one season with the Steelers, he was remarkably consistent off the bench, giving the Steelers someone they could trust throughout the season to provide a pass rush when Watt and Highsmith needed a breather. Pittsburgh could still use some depth there as it stands and Golden remains a quality free agent. To say the least, it would not be all too surprising if the Steelers did loop back around and see if Golden would want to return to strengthen that unit.