Markus Golden, the outside linebacker who led the Giants in sacks a year ago but struggled to find playing time even while injuries ravaged his position group this season, was traded to the Cardinals on Friday for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 draft.
The move comes a little more than a week ahead of the Nov. 3 trade deadline and may not be the last move the Giants make as they face a 1-6 record and weigh current expectations with long-term needs.
In Thursday night’s loss to the Eagles, Golden played just 27 of the team’s 81 defensive snaps. He had one tackle, a 5-yard sack of Carson Wentz, giving him 11 1/2 in his 23 games with the Giants.
Golden’s departure is the latest turnover in a fluid outside linebackers group. Lorenzo Carter is out for the season with an Achilles injury and Oshane Ximines has been on injured reserve with a shoulder injury but is eligible to return to the field next week. The Giants have also been working rookie Cam Brown into their rotation at the position and last week they signed veteran Jabaal Sheard.
The trade was in the works before Thursday’s loss and a source told Newsday that the result of that game did not impact the team’s decision to move Golden.
Joe Judge on Friday prior to the trade downplayed but did not dismiss the team’s interest in being sellers in the days leading up to the trade deadline.
"To me, we’re going out there to be competitive and win every game every week," he said. "We’re not racing for some kind of a draft pick, that’s not our priority right now. We’re trying to go out there, we’re trying to win, that’s our goal as an organization."
But Judge did say that there is also an eye beyond that goal.
"We’re always thinking about the future in what we do," he said. "The future includes the game coming up that week as well as the long-term picture… We’re putting together a foundation for a team that we hope lasts, that will play the right type of football for a long time. We have a culture being built right now that is moving in the right direction."
Golden played his first four NFL seasons for the Cardinals and should help them overcome the loss of Chandler Jones, who was placed on injured reserve. He joins a cadre of former Giants on the Cardinals, including linebacker Devon Kennard and former first-round picks Prince Amukamara and Justin Pugh.
The Giants are scheduled to host the Cardinals at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 13.