It never seemed like a good fit the moment this new Giants coaching staff got Markus Golden on the roster. As it turned out, it was not a good fit, which is why Golden, a pass-rushing outside linebacker, was traded Friday to the Cardinals for a sixth round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Whether this is the start of a fire-sale by the Giants, with the NFL trading deadline looming Nov. 3, remains to be seen. Most likely, it is not.
Golden, 29, led the Giants last season with 10 sacks for the Pat Shurmur coaching staff, and he was a favorite of former defensive coordinator James Bettcher. Golden, though, found the free-agent market to be nearly non-existent for him. He eventually returned to the Giants, who applied the seldom-used unrestricted free-agent tender on Golden, securing him for $4.1 million for the season.
What looked to be a low-risk, high-return investment for the Giants never materialized. Golden struggled to get playing time in new coordinator Patrick Graham’s defense, as Golden’s lack of ability to drop in coverage kept him off the field. Despite Lorenzo Carter suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury and Oshane Ximines landing on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, Golden’s usage did not increase. He played only 33 percent (27 of 81) of the defensive snaps in Thursday night’s 22-21 loss to the Eagles. Golden did have one sack and two quarterback hits on Carson Wentz. He had 1.5 sacks this season.
Golden started his career with the Cardinals and this move makes sense, as they lost Chandler Jones to a biceps injury for the remainder of the season and needed help fortifying their pass rush.
The Giants recently signed veteran Jabaal Sheard, a defensive end who can also play outside linebacker.
This is not the last the Giants will see of Golden — they play the Cardinals Dec. 13 at MeLife Stadium.