After undergoing COVID-19 testing and a physical at training camp earlier this week, linebacker Marcus Golden signed his one-year unrestricted free-agent tender on Tuesday morning, per reports.
The deal is worth $5.1 million, which was the set number given the type of contract it was as Golden will once again have to prove that he is the Giants’ top pass-rusher in 2020 to secure a big-time contract.
Golden was head and shoulders above the rest of the Giants’ defense when it came to rushing the quarterback. His 64 pressures were 30 more than any other Giants defender last season and his 10 sacks led the team.
It was the 29-year-old’s best season as a pro since a 2016 campaign with the Arizona Cardinals that saw him post 12.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, and 22 QB hits.
For the Giants, Golden’s signing couldn’t have happened in a better fashion for them. They get one of their best defenders back at a reasonable price thanks to a slow-moving pass-rusher market that still sees the likes of Jadeveon Clowney and Everson Griffen looking for marquee contracts around the league.
He bolsters one of the outside-linebacking positions for a team still with plenty of question marks amidst a rebuild. New York’s other outside linebackers include Oshane Ximines, Lorenzo Carter and Kyler Fackrell.
Ximines and Carter — both preparing for their third NFL seasons — are coming off 4.5-sack campaigns in 2019 while Fackrell fell out of favor with the Green Bay Packers, following up a 10.5-sack 2018 with just one last season.
Should Golden continue playing at his high level from 2019, the Giants can now rotate their three remaining outside linebackers to find the best pairing possible.
There’s still plenty of work to do for a Giants organization whose backbone is usually its defense. That’s been far from the case lately as New York’s defense has been ranked in the NFL’s bottom-10 each year since 2017.