Former Edison High star Robert Golden is staying with the Pittsburgh Steelers, as tempting as it might have been to test the NFL free-agency waters.
The safety agreed to a three-year deal Sunday that was confirmed by the team Monday. Terms were not disclosed, though CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora reported it was a $5 million deal.
Golden, who will be entering his fifth season with the Steelers, could have been an unrestricted free agent beginning Wednesday, after playing this past season on a one-year deal worth $1.5 million.
I don’t see myself going somewhere to try to learn another playbook and get to know other players, just to be in a backup role again.
Robert Golden, an Edison High alum, on his decision to pass up unrestricted free agency and instead re-sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers
“Just having the familiarity with the team, coaching staff and the owners,” Golden said. “It’s a first-class organization and we are so close to winning the seventh Lombardi (Trophy) and I want to be a part of it.”
Golden made three starts and played in all 16 games en route to career highs in tackles (36) and passes defensed (four) and also recorded his first career interception. The 5-foot-11, 202-pound Fresno native was named a special-teams captain for the second consecutive year.
36 career-high tackle total for Golden in 2015, his fourth with Pittsburgh. He had 30 in the three previous seasons combined.
Among his 2015 season highlights were a career-high eight tackles in a 25-13 victory over Arizona on Oct. 18 – also his first start.
Golden, 25, made the Steelers’ roster as an undrafted free agent out of Arizona in 2012 and played in 15 games on special teams as a rookie. He now has played in 63 straight, plus three in the postseason.
Testing the market did cross his mind, but he said he didn’t want to start over with a new team.
“I don’t see myself going somewhere to try to learn another playbook and get to know other players,” he said, “just to be in a backup role again. At the end of the day, it’s a business, I haven’t been a full-time starter yet, to get what I deserve, so hopefully the Steelers give me the opportunity to be the starter this year … to get what I deserve in years to come.”
Among the unrestricted free agents with central San Joaquin Valley ties are offensive lineman Ryan Wendell (Fresno State), receiver Seyi Ajirotutu (Fresno State), fullback Tyler Clutts (Fresno State), tight end Bear Pascoe (Granite Hills/Fresno State), linebacker Chris Carter (Fresno State) and tight end Anthony McCoy (Bullard).