When the 2023 off season began, Steelers fans were unanimous about one move they wanted the team to make: Bring back Bud Dupree. Omar Khan tried, but Dupree declined.
- Last week Steelers fans just might have gotten what they wanted anyway.
Last week the Steelers came to terms with Markus Golden, a free agent outside linebacker who has spent his career with the Arizona Cardinals sans a 23 game stint in 2019 and 2020 with the New York Giants.
Let me state at the outset that I know next to nothing about Markus Golden and stress that he deserves to be considered as is own man.
- But statically speaking he appears to be Bud Dupree’s clone.
Just glance at some stats compiled by Carlos Ortega, founder of the Mexican site Steelers Tres Sesenta.
In football you often times hear that “so and so is a mirror image of such and such player.” Heck, In talking about Jack Lambert and Jack Ham, George Perles used to say, “There’s a lot of Ham in Lambert and a lot of Lambert in Ham.” Chuck Noll endorsed that idea in Dan Rooney’s self-titled autobiography.
- But the statistical similarity between Markus Golden and Bud Dupree is uncanny.
Assuming that Golden is OK with playing third fiddle behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, the Steelers should enjoy the best depth at outside linebacker since 2020, when Highsmith backed up Watt and Dupree.
But is that safe assumption?
Perhaps Fourth Time Is the Charm for Pittsburgh?
Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan can be forgiven if they’re crossing their fingers and clutching their Rosary Beads hoping that Markus Golden works out. Because the Steelers have followed the beg, borrow or steal routine to build depth at outside linebacker.
In July 2021 the Steelers signed Melvin Ingram, and it looked like a minor steal. Ingram played well given his role, but it was a role he was unhappy to play. He demanded a trade. Mike Tomlin complied, later explaining “He did not want to be here.”
Last year the Steelers traded for Malik Reed at the end of August. Reed had performed well while backup in up Von Miller in Denver, but he was invisible while T.J. Watt was injured.
After the Steelers traded Ingram to the Chiefs, they signed Taco Charlton. He didn’t work out. They had Derrek Tuszka on their roster for 15 games in 2021, not that you’d remember.
They signed Genard Avery in 2022, then cut him in preseason. They’ve brought Tuzar Skipper back only to release him as injured/waived. They’ve drafted, cut and resigned Quincy Roche. Jamir Jones has been on an off the roster, even getting a couple of exclusive and/or restricted free agent tenders. He’s gone.
Hopefully, with Markus Golden the fourth time will prove to be the charm for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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