The New York Giants have done the inevitable, moving off of their leading sack-getter from a season ago and their most prolific pass rusher since 2014.
On Friday, less than two weeks before the NFL trade deadline, the Giants got the ball rolling as they traded away outside linebacker Markus Golden to the Arizona Cardinals. As compensation, the G-Men will receive a sixth-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Golden returns to the team for which he started his NFL career with as a second-round pick out of Missouri back in 2015. Golden’s first stint in Arizona was highly impressive at times, but mostly overshadowed by injuries. His most prolific campaign came in 2016 when he racked up a career-high 12.5 sacks.
In Thursday night’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Golden played just 27 defensive snaps for the Giants, yet still managed to make his presence felt, collecting two QB hits and one sack.
Jabaal Sheard Time?
With Golden out of the picture, expect the recently-signed Jabaal Sheard to man a significant role moving forward. The one-time Super Bowl champion was signed off the Jaguars practice squad earlier this week and is likely to make his Giants debut in Week 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sheard has appeared in 135 games over his career, including stints with the Browns, Patriots and Colts. He’s accumulated 51.5 sacks, 94 QB hits, 13 forced fumbles, 87 tackles (264 solo), 71 tackles for loss and 28 passes defended.
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Golden’s Odd Tenure With Big Blue Finally Meets its End
The 29-year-old St. Louis (MO) native’s tumultuous run in New York comes to an end after an extremely odd offseason and an even more confusing lack of usage under the team’s new coaching staff.
In 2019, Golden’s first season with the Giants, the pass rusher led the team with 10 sacks, the most by a Giants defender since Jason Pierre-Paul’s 12.5 sack season back in 2014. Yet, he proved to be much more than a one-trick pony. Golden also ranked within the top-15 amongst all edge defenders in both tackles for loss and quarterback hits.
However, despite his impressive production, the Giants allowed Golden to test the open market this offseason, showing little urge to cement his return. When Golden’s market proved to be bleak, the organization slapped the rarely-used UFA Tender on him, vastly limiting his options and salary moving forward.
While he did eventually return to the team on a minuscule $3.75 million contract, it quickly became evident that Golden was not portrayed in the same light with the team’s new coaching staff as he had been with the previous regime.
Miscast in new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s scheme, Golden was surpassed by the likes of Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines and Kyler Fackrell on the depth chart, playing less than 27 snaps in all but one game this season.
Golden will get a chance to show the Giants what they are missing quite soon, as Big Blue is set to host the Cardinals in Week 14 (December 13).