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2023 Steelers Exit Interviews: Nick Herbig and Markus Golden

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 NFL season has come to a close. Because the Steelers are among the 31 teams who did not finish fulfilling their ultimate goal, they are in the process of wrapping up their season and moving forward into 2024.

Since the Steelers conduct exit interviews with all their players, and the fact I have done these articles in the past, we thought we would do the same here at Steel Curtain Network. By outlining two players each day, we will be able to look at their season in retrospect as well as looking toward the future. Since Coach Tomlin has previously stated he starts his interviews with rookies and those heading into free agency, we will attempt to do the same to some degree. To start, we will pair the most recent draftees with another player at the same position (if possible) as we work through this process to eventually cover the entire Steelers roster.

Next up are outside linebackers Nick Herbig and Markus Golden.

Nick Herbig

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Outside linebacker
Years with the Steelers: 1
Years in the NFL: 1
Contract Status: Signed through 2026
Contract Details: $1,083,231 salary cap hit for 2024. Would cost the Steelers $504,693 in dead money if released and save $578,538.
Games played in 2023: 17 regular season
Games started in 2023: None
Snaps (regular season): 191 (defense), 352 (special teams)
PFF score: 81.0 (DNQ for ranking); 78.6 for special teams
Notable stats: During the regular season, Herbig had 27 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.

Notes: As a fourth-round draft pick, expectations were for Nick Herbig to not have to be a huge contributor his rookie season. Before training camp began it was assumed Herbig would make the team but might not even be active on game day. But his play dictated otherwise. Despite being the fourth man on the death chart, Herbig saw defensive snaps and became a high-quality special teams player. Moving forward, Herbig allows the Steelers to have the needed depth at outside linebacker as he continues to develop. His 2023 season exceeded expectations of a fourth-round draft pick, so 2024 starts off with even more hope of seeing quality play.

Markus Golden

Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Outside linebacker
Years with the Steelers: 1
Years in the NFL: 9
Contract Status: Free Agent
Contract Details: Contract expiring with no dead money.
Games played in 2023: 16 regular season
Games started in 2023: None (1 postseason)
Snaps (regular season): 230 (defense), 13 (special teams)
PFF score: 83.5 (17th of 118)
Notable stats: During the regular season, Golden had 20 tackles, 4.0 sacks, 1 pass defensed, and 1 fumble recovery.

Notes: Markus Golden finally gave the Steelers what they had been searching for so often in the third outside linebacker- quality reps from a player who knew their role. Ironically, Golden came through for the Steelers as the veteran in the same season Nick Herbig stepped up as a rookie. Having less of a drop off when T.J. Watt or Alex Highsmith came off the field, Golden even started the Steelers playoff game when Watt was unavailable. Although he’s not under contract for 2024, Golden was a veteran salary benefit contract last year and, if he’s willing to do it again in 2024, it would be foolish for the Steelers not to offer the same deal.

Make sure you check back each day for another set of exit interviews. If you have missed any of the previous articles, they are listed here:

Broderick Jones & Chuks Okorafor
Joey Porter Jr. & Levi Wallace
Keeanu Benton & Montravius Adams
Darnell Washington & Rodney Williams


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