Markus Golden, LB, 6-3, 259, 9th season
The Steelers have signed veteran Markus Golden to a one-year contract to help solidify their depth at outside linebacker.
Golden, 32, was a second-round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals out of Missouri in 2015.
In his previous eight seasons, he has appeared in 111 games, making 68 starts. Golden has recorded 323 career tackles with 47 sacks, two interceptions and 11 forced fumbles.
On three different occasions, he has reached double digits in sacks, including recording a team-best 11 in 2021 with the Cardinals in his second stint with that team. Golden also has played for the Giants.
A powerful player, Golden had 26 tackles and four sacks coming off the bench for the Cardinals in 2022. He also had seven tackles for a loss and 15 quarterback knockdowns in 781 defensive snaps. He is well established at setting the edge against the run and also has some juice as a pass rusher.
With starters T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith in place, Golden comes in as the immediate third linebacker, a role with which he is suited to play at this point in his career.
The Steelers were forced to play seven games without the services of Watt last season due to injury and were looking for an upgrade behind him and Highsmith.
Golden is clearly that.
It also lessens the need for the team to force rookie Nick Herbig, a fourth-round draft pick, into a more prominent role and perhaps opens the door for Herbig to see some time at inside linebacker, as well.
He'll provide a veteran option behind Watt and Highsmith who can easily step in and play as a starter or provide 15 to 20 quality snaps per game, if needed.
And unlike some previous veteran backup additions, there's little chance Golden won't understand his role with the team.