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These Days, Incentives Make Markus Golden Smile

Linebacker piling up extra payments with big season in progress

When Markus Golden re-signed with the Cardinals this past offseason, he wanted nothing else. And with the desire to remain in Arizona, he was willing to be flexible with his contract.

He signed a two-year contract, with a $1.5 million signing bonus and salaries of $1 million this season and $2 million in 2022. It was a bargain for a pass rusher, with much of the other money tied to availability and sack incentives -- $15,625 for each game played, and then certain sack levels. Field Yates noted that with Golden's 10th sack of the season, against the Seahawks, Golden had already earned $1 million of the sack incentives this season, and if he gets to 13, he will earn another $1M.

Signing a contract like that can be frustrating for some players, understandably so, because they want guaranteed money. But when I asked Golden about it, he smiled.

"It was tough. But I did it before," Golden said. "I did it before when I was in New York (for his 2019 contract with the Giants), and once you do something one time, you believe you can do it no matter what."

Golden got incentives when he left the Cards as a free agent and went to the Giants, and ended up with a 10-sack season. This offseason, he signed a similar deal with the Cardinals and he's making it work.

"Now I've got the confidence," Golden said. "When we were writing the contract, I was already smiling because I knew I was gonna get it.

"I'm just happy I have the teammates and the coaches who help me out and put me in position, but I was pretty confident once we wrote that contract up this season."

LB Markus Golden gets his wrists taped by trainer Jeff Herndon before a game in Seattle in 2021