Hours after their loss to the Eagles, the Giants are dealing away a key defender. They will send Markus Golden back to the Cardinals.
The Cardinals announced they have reacquired Golden in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round pick. Originally a Cards second-rounder, Golden signed with the Giants in 2019 and stayed in New York via UFA tender this offseason. The Cardinals will be on the hook for the remaining $2.6MM of Golden’s UFA tender salary.
Golden has rebounded from the ACL tear that docked his stock in his first Cardinals stay. He led the Giants with 10 sacks last season; in 2020, the 29-year-old edge defender has 1.5 sacks and six QB hits. Golden will head back to a different Cardinals coaching staff, but Steve Keim knows him well from being the GM that drafted him five years ago.
The Cardinals are in better shape than they were when Golden was last with the team. Golden finished his first Arizona stint during the Steve Wilks-led 3-13 season. The Cardinals are now 4-2 under Kliff Kingsbury. And they carried a clear edge need after losing Chandler Jones for the season. Golden, who registered a career-high 12.5 sacks for the 2016 Cards, will now help fill that void.
This trade could double as a chance for Golden to submit quality work ahead of another free agency bid — after limited interest came his way in 2019 or ’20 — and contribute to a potential playoff run. He is due to return to free agency in 2021. Golden obviously cannot do a Thursday-Sunday double, with trade acquisitions needing to pass six COVID-19 tests — each at least 24 hours apart — before practicing with their new teams.
This could be the first of multiple pre-deadline deals for the Giants, who fell to 1-6 despite holding a two-score lead over the Eagles in the fourth quarter Thursday. Although they used the rare UFA tender to retain Golden, they were deploying him as mostly a pass rush specialist. Golden played just 36% of Big Blue’s defensive snaps this season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.