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Cardinals Bring Back Markus Golden In Trade With Giants

Former second-round pick arrives to help pass rush

Linebacker Markus Golden doesn't hide his emotions as he comes out of the tunnel before a 2018 home game.
Linebacker Markus Golden doesn't hide his emotions as he comes out of the tunnel before a 2018 home game.

The Cardinals are helping with their pass rush and they are doing it with a familiar face.

The team agreed to trade for Giants veteran linebacker Markus Golden Friday, sending a 2021 sixth-round pick to New York. Golden, who must pass a physical, was a 2015 second-round pick of the Cardinals and played his first four seasons in Arizona before going to the Giants as a free agent.

Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim had said Friday morning no trade was imminent, but that conversations for potential player moves were ongoing.

Golden is scheduled to become a free agent after the season. The Cardinals had a pass-rushing void after Chandler Jones was lost for the season with a biceps injury.

In 2016, Golden had a team-best 12½ sacks when he bookended with Jones in Jones' first season in Arizona. Golden tore his ACL in Week 4 in 2017, derailing that season and slowing his production in his 11-game 2018 season, when he had 2½ sacks.

He went to the Giants on a one-year contract and had a team-high 10 sacks last year for New York, but still couldn't find the big-money free agent deal on the market and subsequently returned to the Giants. He still is owed about $631,000 in salary and about a million in per-game roster bonuses if he plays the complete post-bye week schedule, plus some other incentives.

Golden had 1½ sacks for the Giants in seven games this season, and played against the Eagles Thursday night. As a new addition, he must go through a six-day COVID protocol in addition to his physical. The Cardinals are on a bye next week; the first game Golden will be available to play is Nov. 8 at home against the Dolphins.

Haason Reddick, who replaced Jones in the starting lineup, currently leads the Cardinals with four sacks. He and Devon Kennard are the starters, backed up by Kylie Fitts and Dennis Gardeck.