Last year, when linebacker Markus Golden entered free agency after leading the New York Giants in sacks with 10.0 in 2019, he found no takers. The Giants, seeing that Golden could be retained via the rarely-used “UFA tender” clause, exercised the tender. Golden returned to the Giants on a one-year deal worth $5.1 million.
Golden was not really in the Giants’ plans, yet they chose to bring him back. It did not go well. He was used sparingly, recording just 10 total tackles and 1.5 sacks. The Giants traded him back to his former team, the Arizona Cardinals, in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round draft pick.
This week, the impending free agent Golden re-signed with the Cards on a two-year, $9 million deal. He told reporters that his Giants experience last year almost drove him to retirement.
LB Markus Golden, talking after re-signing with the @AZCardinals, admitted he had some thoughts of retiring while with Giants last season because he felt he had earned playing time and he wasn’t getting the opportunity. Said how Giants dealt with him “rubbed me the wrong way.”
— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) March 17, 2021
It’s the first blunt indication of how unhappy Golden was with Big Blue. Granted his entire year was depressing starting with the snubs in free agency and then not getting to play in a destination of his choice. The Giants made things right, though, sending him back to Arizona where he’s had his most success and where he prefers to play.
Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side.