10:09am: Golden’s deal is worth $5MM for three years, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com confirms (via Twitter). That’s a nice price for the Steelers, and suggests the team views the safety more as a special teams player than a potential starter on defense.
8:25am: The Steelers have reached an agreement on a new three-year contract with pending free agent safety Robert Golden, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). The Steelers have since confirmed the deal (Twitter link via Burt Lauten).
Golden, 25, has primarily been a depth piece and a special-teamer for the Steelers during his first four years in the NFL. However, he did earn three starts for the club last season, making a career-high 36 tackles to go along with nine passes defended and an interception.
Golden had been one of several Steelers defensive backs eligible for free agency this offseason, along with fellow safety Will Allen and cornerbacks William Gay, Brandon Boykin, and Antwon Blake. With Mike Mitchell set to man one of the safety spots for Pittsburgh in 2016, perhaps Golden will get the opportunity to compete for playing time as the other safety. However, that will likely depend on what else the team does this offseason to address the position.
According to La Canfora, Golden’s new deal is worth $5MM. However, based on that report, it’s not entirely clear whether Golden will be paid $5MM per year, or $5MM over the course of three years. The safety is coming off a season in which he earned $1.542MM, so $5MM over three years would represent a modest bump in his annual salary. Still, considering he saw his first extended action on defense in 2015 and played well, such a small increase in Golden’s pay would make for a very team-friendly deal.
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