Giants ‘Have an Interest’ in Top Remaining Free-Agent Pass Rusher

Giants coach appears to shade Markus Golden

Getty Markus Golden celebrates with Giants teammates

The New York Giants have officially proclaimed their interest in one of the top free-agent pass rushers still available on the market. No, it’s not Jadeveon Clowney, but rather a familiar face, who in the grand scheme of things, could be an even better signing.

That player, of course, is none other than Markus Golden, who led Big Blue in sacks in 2019 with 10. The edge defender was the first Giants player to record double-digit sacks in a single season since Jason Pierre-Paul’s 12.5 sacks all the way back in 2014.

Now, approximately two months after letting Golden test the free agency waters, Giants Coach Joe Judge has taken to a Zoom interview to profess the team’s “interest” in Golden. This coming on the heels of Big Blue slapping Golden with the seldom-used unrestricted free agent tender two weeks ago.

Without going into what we talked about, yes, I have spoken with Markus. I have a lot of respect for him as a player. He’s a great person, he’s a hard worker. He’s a productive player so we have a lot of respect for him. He’s definitely someone that I have spoken to in terms of possibly adding to the roster. We placed the tag on him that’s something that’s allotted to us through the league rules. We thought that it was a situation when it came up and was available to us, it was something we could use. We have an interest in Markus, we’ve talked to him. We are going through the procedure right now. We’re going to let it play out a little bit and see where everything shakes out.

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Golden Has Been in Contact With Other Teams

Markus Golden was supposed to cash in big-time on a lucrative free-agent deal this season. However, after taking a prove-it deal with Big Blue a year ago, and proceeding to “prove-it” on the playing field, suitors for the productive edge defender have been bleak.

With that said, it came out over Draft weekend that Golden had engaged in “recent dialogue” with the Detroit Lions about a potential contract that would land the former 2nd-round pick in the Motor City.

Golden Fills a Major Void on Giants Defense

While Golden isn’t backed up into a corner to make his decision, per se, he does have a deadline to abide by if he hopes to play anywhere but New York next season. Per the UDFA tender rules, noted by ESPN’s Field Yates, the tender assures that if Golden fails to land a contract with another team past July 22nd, he can only play for the Giants in 2020.

Chances are Golden isn’t too fond of the Giants’ decision to tender him, as it vastly limits his potential earnings next season. Should New York retain Golden under the UDFA tender, they would do so at 110% of his previous compensation package, which would come in at just $5.225 million. Talk about a bargain.

Golden put forth a brilliant 2019 campaign with the Giants. Aside from leading the team in sacks, he ranked within the top 15 league-wide in both tackles for loss and quarterback hits. Most importantly, he proved he can stay healthy. Plagued by injuries in the past, Golden appeared in all 16 games with New York a season ago.

Disgruntled or not, the NFL is a business. Retaining Golden, especially at the projected price, is a steal and one that would greatly benefit a Giants defense hungry for help in the pass-rushing department.