To say that Markus Golden’s elongated road to return to the New York Giants this offseason was a rocky one would be a vast understatement. However, his time since rejoining Big Blue has been just as much, if not more agonizing to watch. The team’s new coaching staff has inexplicably parked their most lethal pass-rusher on the bench over the first month of the season, leading to budding speculation of a trade on the near horizon.
“They’re going to get calls on guys playing on the last year of their deals, you can bet on that,” a current NFL general manager told FanSided’s GMenHQ. “So, that probably rules Golden Tate out at his age and salary. But, guys like Evan Engram, Markus Golden, and Leonard Williams will possibly draw a lot of interest.”
Golden, in particular, jumps out among the players named above. Appearing to be a total miscast in new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s defensive scheme, Golden has played no more than 34% of the team’s defensive snaps in any game this year. He’s fresh off a season-low seven snaps in Big Blue’s Week 4 loss against the Los Angeles Rams, a game in which a Giants edge-rushers got home to the quarterback just once.
Golden, Big Blue’s most prolific pass-rusher since Jason Pierre-Paul, is coming off a 10-sack season in 2019 and his second double-digit sack campaign over each of his past two seasons in which he’s appeared in more than 11 games. However, he continues to be buried on the depth chart behind the likes of Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines and Kyler Fackrell, all of whom combined for a mere three sacks through the first four weeks of play. To put that number in a better perspective, there are 19 NFL players this season who have accounted for at least 3.0 sacks on their own this year.
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What Could Big Blue Get In Return for Golden?
Here’s where things get a bit tricky. On the surface, Golden appears to be one of the better pass-rushers not only on his team but within the NFL as a whole.
You would think his 10 sacks in 2019 (most by a Giants defender since 2014), as well as his placement within the top-15 of the league in both tackles for loss and quarterback hits, would only further that sentiment. However, for whatever reason, the Giants don’t appear to be alone in their lackluster view of the veteran defender.
The Giants placed the seldomly used UFA Tender on Golden following the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft. While the tender limited Golden’s flexibility to sign elsewhere to a degree, he did still have until July 22nd to find a suitor. That of course did not happen. Instead, the Giants retained Golden’s rights for a meager $3.75M.
New York’s roundabout way to retain Golden was questioned amongst fans. Yet, with the way things have played out since his return, we have a much better picture of where the Giants were coming from. Golden was, and is, clearly not viewed in the same manner to the new coaching staff as he was under the previous regime. While statements such as Golden’s position coach, Brett Bielema, claiming the Giants “lack any true all-stars” on the edge in August, hold a lot more weight now, looking back.
Set to turn 30-years-old in March and holding very little rank within his current organization, chances are Golden could be had for cheap, especially as the win-less Giants could be looking to sell at the deadline.
New York’s dealing of Snacks Harrison in 2016 may be the best example of what a Golden trade may look like. The Giants notably dealt Harrison to the Lions for a fifth-round pick in 2018, a deal met with great disdain and astonishment from Giants fans and analysts alike.
At this point, anywhere between a fourth and sixth-round selection is not out of the question as possible compensation to acquire the services of Golden. Although, his price point could rise if a contending team is desperate for help on the edge of their defense.
GMenGQ listed the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders a potential suitors for Golden. All but one of whom currently own a .500 record or above.
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