New York Giants Trade OLB Markus Golden to the Cardinals

Patricia Traina

Giants head coach Joe Judge told reporters that he didn't anticipate a fire sale of players before the league's November 3 trade deadline.

But that was at the moment, and it didn't mean that things weren't brewing behind the scenes when Judge spoke.

Sure enough, the Giants have made a trade for draft assets.

The Giants confirmed an NFL Network report that they have traded outside linebacker Markus Golden to the Arizona Cardinals, the team where Golden first got his NFL start, for a sixth-round pick.

The Giants, who currently do not have a fifth or seventh-round draft pick next year (traded to the Jets for defensive lineman Leonard Williams and the Broncos for cornerback Isaac Yiadom respectively), pick up the extra Day 3 pick.

Golden, 29 years old, was the Giants sack leader last season with 10.0. 

Despite leading the team in sacks, the free-agent market never materialized for Golden, who was then tendered with the rarely used UFA tender, a tactic that ensured the Giants would retain the rights to Golden's services if he didn't sign elsewhere by the start of training camp.

The tender also made Golden's contract extremely reasonable if the Giants decided to move him. His cap hit of $5,097 million includes a $1 million bonus if he hits double-digit sacks--the cap hit a bargain for a productive pass rusher.

Why Golden?

Despite Golden being reasonably priced, he ended up being nothing more than a role player for the Giants. Golden participated in 175 of the Giants 463 defensive snaps, or 38%.

The Giants have liked what the rookies Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin have shown. They also added Jabaal Sheard, a pass rusher, to the mix last week.

Combine all that with the fact the Giants have started to see a return on investment from Kyler Fackrell, who like Golden did last year, signed a one-year "prove it deal," and the strong likelihood of the Giants anticipate getting Oshane Ximines back from the injured reserve where he's been with a shoulder injury, and Golden became expendable.

What's the Cap Impact?

The Cardinals will take on the remaining portion of Golden's salary, including any per-game roster bonuses he was due for being active.

That works out to $630,882.35 in weekly base salary and $873,529.41 in per-game roster bonuses if Golden is active. If he reached double-digit sacks, he will be owed the $1 million performance incentive.

The Giants paid Golden a $1.375 million roster bonus, so their projected net savings is estimated at a little over $1.5 million.

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