Dave Gettleman, Markus Golden
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

With some of the NFL’s top pass rushers receiving the franchise tag, the New York Giants must come to terms with Markus Golden.

Last week, New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman had a premonition that none of the top pass rushers would be available in free agency, due to their teams giving them the franchise tag.

So far that claim is coming to fruition. Numerous talented pass rushers are reportedly in the process of receiving the tag. This includes Yannick Ngakoue of the Jaguars, Shaquil Barrett of the Buccaneers, and Bud Dupree of the Steelers. Ngakoue recently revealed he wants out of Jacksonville despite the team’s plans to retain him.

So due to the number of available pass rushers decreasing by the day, and the loot that Jacksonville will want in a potential trade for Ngakoue, it’s becoming more probable that the Giants will bring back Markus Golden. For many reasons, this would be the correct move.

Gettleman inked Golden to a one-year deal last offseason worth $3.75 million. Many have criticized Gettleman on his free-agent signings thus far in his Giants tenure. That doesn’t include the Golden acquisition though, as that’s benefitted the organization in a number of ways.

Golden led Big Blue in sacks this past season with 10, becoming the first Giant since Jason Pierre-Paul in 2014 to record a double-digit mark in that category. He put together a five-game span from Weeks 2-6 where he recorded at least .5 sacks.

The 28-year-old thus helped increase the team’s sack total from 30 in 2018 to 36 last season. Golden was additionally more than just a pass rusher. He was solid against the run, as his 72 combined tackles were fifth-most on the team.

Head coach Joe Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham have yet to state whether the Giants will run a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Golden is probably best suited to play the outside linebacker position in a 3-4 scheme, but at 6-foot-3, 259 pounds, he could perform wherever New York needs him to.

Golden will turn 29 this month and neither he nor his agent have given an indication on the length or size of the contract he’ll be seeking. It’s reasonable to think he’ll want a deal that’ll pay him at least $10 million annually though. He realizes teams are in need of a quality pass rusher and understands that this is likely his final shot at receiving a significant payday.

By all accounts, Golden was well respected in the Giants locker room last season. It’s a key attribute as the team attempts to construct a winning culture.

Currently, Big Blue employs two young edge rushers in Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines. While both are talented and progressing, Gettleman knows he can’t enter the 2020 season with those two at the top of the depth chart. Bringing back Golden — who the players are already familiar with — is an extremely viable option.

Acquiring a pass rusher is one of the many priorities for the Giants this offseason. With free agency commencing on March 18, we’ll find out soon enough whether Gettleman grants Golden a lucrative contract.

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