Why the New York Giants need to bring back LB Markus Golden

Giants, Markus Golden
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants entered the offseason needing to bolster their pass rush and a key element to the production they actually did have was Markus Golden.

To put Golden’s impact into perspective, he was the first linebacker in franchise history since Lawrence Taylor to record a double-figure sack total in a single-season. Last season, the Giants managed to record just 36 sacks last season, which ranked 22nd in the NFL.

While the Giants signed former Green Bay Packers linebacker Kyler Fackrell, they haven’t done much else to bolster their capabilities in this department. Meanwhile, Golden still remains available in free agency.

Last season, Golden emerged as a leader on the Giants’ defense and produced at a high-level on the field. A year removed from his knee injury, he seemed to get stronger as the season progressed and teams were focusing on him to protect their quarterback.

Still, over the last seven games of 2019, he managed 4.5 sacks and 14 of his 27 QB hits. There were entire games where Golden was the only weapon in the Giants pass rush.

Right now, prior to the 2020 NFL Draft, Fackrell looks like the main weapon in the Giants’ pass rush. That would be a criminal offense by general manager Dave Gettleman. Essentially it is a swap of Golden for Fackrell and that is not exactly an improvement. In fact, it seems like status quo and that is unacceptable.

While Gettleman seems to collect defensive tackles and 3-4 defensive ends, there are already eight defensive linemen on the roster, he has ignored the outside linebacker with rare exception. Right now, the Giants’ pass rush consists of Fackrell, Oshane Ximines, and Lorenzo Carter. Ximines and Carter each had 4.5 sacks last year, tied for second on the team.

The Giants are expected to get better given their youth but they can’t be relied upon just yet. New York simply needs another weapon, preferably two, that can line up at defensive end or linebacker and threaten the quarterback. Golden is a perfect fit for them and their disinterest in bringing him back is mind boggling.

There isn’t much money left in the coffers to pursue a top tier free agent pass rusher and it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Golden is asking for too much. However, if the Giants get creative with the salary cap they can make it work because he’s simply too important to let walk.

The Giants need Golden’s leadership, professionalism, and, most importantly, his productivity. Getting to the opposing team’s quarterback should be paramount in today’s NFL. Stopping the run is important and New York has added pieces to improve in that area, but the pass rush is the key to success.

The time has come for Gettleman to get serious about improving this defense. Markus Golden needs to be brought back. There is still time for that to happen but each day that passes, the chances seem to dwindle just a bit.

Simply put, Gettleman needs to show respect to his leading pass rusher and show Giants fans he is committed to improving the team. He can do that be re-signing Markus Golden.