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Reported deal: Two years/$9 million

Markus Golden was traded back to the Arizona Cardinals after a year and a half with the New York Giants. Under a new defensive coordinator in Patrick Graham, Golden didn’t see enough playing time in the first half of the 2020 season.

But once he got traded back to Arizona, Golden was again a full-time player and few pass rushers were more productive. In fact, the only player with at least 100 pass rush snaps and a higher pressure rate than Golden from Week 9 on was Joey Bosa, according to Sports Info Solutions.

Golden only finished the season with 4.5 sacks but he was tied for 16th in quarterback hits. Typically defenders will convert around 40% of their hits into sacks, a rate that usually regresses to the mean from one year to the next. Golden isn’t new to getting to the quarterback, either. He finished sixth in quarterback hits during the 2019 season.

The $9 million deal could be a steal for the Cardinals, who get to keep a known, productive player on the edge. Golden was a disruptive force in his half-season and his return can give the Cardinals more flexibility on the defensive line with Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt. Golden’s return makes the Watt deal better with more opportunities for Watt to kick inside with Golden and Jones on the edges.

Arizona still needs help at cornerback and needs to focus on offensive upgrades, but it’s not hard to see the foundation in place on the defensive line that can be the catalyst for an improving defense.

Grade: B+