Motivated Markus Golden is Focused on Picking Up Where He Left Off
New York Giants edge rusher Markus Golden always likes to say the league is a business.
But even Golden, who's been to a few rodeos, learned something new this off-season when the Giants applied the seldom-used UFA tender in an attempt to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their 2019 sack leader.
The tender, which Golden signed after completing his COVID-19 testing, will pay him $4.125 million, not including a potential $1 million bonus if he replicates last year's success and records double-digit sacks.
That amount is far less than what Golden had hoped to score on the open market. But instead of being discouraged, Golden is more focused on what he has to do in the coming year.
"I know one thing I'm gonna do is to come out and compete," he said during a conference call with reporters. "This off-season, I worked really hard to get better. And that's what I'm gonna do every day."
Golden has worked hard to prove to the league that he's fully recovered from a torn ACL suffered four games into his 2017 season.
When he returned in 2018, he was still trying to get his legs back underneath him after spending most of that off-season rehabbing in addition to training.
This past off-season, Golden was able to train more on his pass-rushing craft than perform rehab, something he believes will make a big difference in the upcoming season.
"It was productive cause I'm a guy like work pass rush by myself," Golden said. "Just being able to go to a local park and have my cones and all my stuff I need and be out there working pass rush by myself, that was a big step.
"So it was a normal off-season for me being able to get out there and really worked pass rush every day."
The work that Golden has put in has him feeling pretty good about the upcoming season, which will be only the second time in his NFL career that he won't be in a defense run by James Bettcher, under whom he achieved both his double-digit sack seasons (12.5 in 2016 and 10.0 in 2019).
That's why Golden feels like he doesn't have to prove anything to anyone.
"I'm feeling healthy," he said. "I don't worry about everybody else. I don't worry about, 'Oh, I've got to go prove this to this guy.' I'm not worried about that. If you don't know what I can do by now, then it's not even worth proving. So I'll focus on proving it to myself."
Golden wasn't a part of the virtual off-season program, so he's getting caught up on new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham's playbook. But he did reveal his role will encompass a little bit of the weak-side linebacker, defensive end, and nickel responsibilities.
"t's football at the end of the day," Golden said when asked how Graham's system compares with what the Giants ran last year. "The plays can be this, and you can call whatever you want to call it. But at the end of the day, you gotta know your job to know what you got to do out there.
"I'm really just focusing on learning these plays exactly and getting locked in on these plays and being out there and doing my job."
And if it comes with a big payday next year, even better.
"This is a game where they tell you that if you put the hard work in then the game will pay you back in different ways," Golden said.
"At the end of the day, is football is football. You're going to pad up. You're gonna put your helmet on. You're going to go out and throw and go to war, man.
"I'm not going to say I'm gonna do this and that, but I look forward to getting out there."
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