Golden tallied eight receptions (on 14 targets) for 82 yards and one touchdown in 12 contests during the 2016 season.
Golden was unable to nail down a spot on the 53-man roster in the preseason, but as he did in the previous two campaigns, he was promoted from the practice squad, doing so prior to Week 5 on this occasion. As the year wore on and various parts of the roster continued to take hits, he variously made his presence felt in all three phases. Granted, he was only pressed into duty for one snap on defense, but on special teams he averaged 24.2 yards per kickoff return on a team-high 11 dalliances. Although the late-season cut of Michael Floyd may have cleared a path to a guaranteed role in 2017, Golden's future likely depends on Larry Fitzgerald's upcoming decision to stick around (or not), John Brown's health, and any additions at wideout in free agency and the draft.
Golden hauled in one of two passes for 22 yards during Saturday's 34-31 win in Seattle.
The Cardinals' receiving corps was expected to be a relative strength this season due to the presence of Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown, and promising youngster J.J. Nelson. Among the quartet, only Fitzgerald has been a reliable option for Carson Palmer in the passing attack, but the release of Floyd in advance of Week 15 opened the door for Golden to make his presence felt. Although Golden has been targeted no more than three times in a given game in 2016, his usage has surpassed 30 percent of the offensive snaps in back-to-back contests heading into Sunday's season finale at Los Angeles.
For the third time in five games, Golden earned at least 20 snaps, but the increased usage didn't translate to the box score, as he managed one catch (on three targets) for negative one yard. Pressed into action when John Brown was lost due to a hamstring injury, Golden was less than so, but his own groin limited his practice reps last week and may have had a similar impact Sunday. Nonetheless, Golden may be able to sustain the aforementioned usage if Brown requires some time off.
Including the current campaign, Golden has spent time on the Cardinals' practice squad in three of the past four years. While he remained there until Week 5 in 2016, his first offensive snaps occurred in Week 7, and he made his first reception since Week 17 of last season this past Sunday, nabbing a pair for 29 yards. As the Cardinals enter their bye week, the receiving corps will likely grow healthier, which could serve to limit Golden's reps, at least in the team's next outing on Nov. 13 against the 49ers.
Golden was inked to the Cardinals' practice squad Sunday, Kyle Odegard of the Cardinals' official site reports.
Golden's quest for a fringe roster spot may have been hindered by a lingering hamstring injury, but he impressed in the final two preseason games, accruing eight receptions for 128 yards. With only five wideouts on the 53-man roster, one ailment could be enough for Golden or fellow practice squad mate Chris Hubert to receive the call.
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