Markus Golden
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Markus Golden became the first New York Giant since 2014 to record double-digit sacks in a season, but does that mean they’ll bring him back?

Jason Leach

Now that the New York Giants have hired a head coach, 38-year-old Joe Judge, they have begun to put the new staff together.

Judge has retained wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert and special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey. On Sunday, he named Patrick Graham the team’s new defensive coordinator.

Despite more coaching decisions needing to be made, Judge and general manager Dave Gettleman will have to begin working together on constructing the best 53-man roster possible.

This will be done via the draft and free agency, where it’s estimated the Giants will have anywhere from $63 to $71 million in cap space. Having a solid draft class and free agency period will play a pivotal role in determining the team’s 2020 success.

Nonetheless, re-signing their own free agents will additionally play a huge factor.

One of the Giants with expiring contracts is outside linebacker Markus Golden. New York signed Golden to a one-year, $3.75 million deal last March. Some questioned the signing since Golden had just 2.5 sacks in 11 games with the Arizona Cardinals in 2018. This came after he tore his ACL during the 2017 campaign.

But Golden would establish himself as arguably the best free agent that Gettleman signed over a two-year period.

The former Cardinal finished the season with 72 total tackles (37 solo), 10 sacks, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. He became the first Giant since Jason Pierre-Paul to record double-digit sacks in a single season. Golden also had a five-game stretch from Weeks 2 through 6 when he recorded at least .5 sacks each game.

He may not be an elite pass rusher. Nevertheless, Golden is solid, effective, and shows productivity when it comes to stopping the run. He’ll turn 29 in March. Thus, you’d figure with his age and production that Gettleman would make re-signing him one of his top priorities.

But that may not necessarily be the case. The Giants have two young edge rushers in Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines who are in their plans for 2020 and beyond.

Gettleman drafted Carter in the third round of the 2018 draft (No. 66 overall) and selected Ximines in the third round of the 2019 draft (No. 95 overall). Last season, the 24-year-old Carter, who started on the opposite side of Golden, racked up 45 tackles and 4.5 sacks. The 23-year-old Ximines, who appeared in 16 games (two starts), totaled 25 tackles and 4.5 sacks as well.

While Carter and Ximines’ production combined was less than Golden’s, anytime you draft a player in the third round, you expect them to be an eventual starter. Therefore, one could come to the assumption that Gettleman drafted Ximines to be the understudy to Golden for one year. Ximines would then become the full-time starter in 2020.

But Golden was too productive last season to just let him leave without offering a contract. As the saying goes, you can never have too many pass rushers, especially for a team that’s failed to complete the said task on a consistent basis.

Judge and Graham have yet to commit to whether the team will run a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. The former is what Big Blue has run the past two seasons. Judge said he would have to see what fits best with the personnel.

All-in-all, one of the more intriguing developments will be whether Golden is a part of the roster next year.

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