Markus Golden having outstanding year for Cardinals defense

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Markus Golden
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Markus Golden /

Markus Golden is having one of the finest years of his NFL career for an Arizona Cardinals squad that may be Super Bowl-bound.

A little over a year ago, the Arizona Cardinals front office orchestrated a trade for a player that they had drafted back in 2015. Now, nine games into the 2021 campaign, that very individual is enjoying one of the finest seasons of his NFL career.

Markus Golden, a former second-round draft pick of the Cards, has been everything the club could’ve hoped for and moreover the past couple of months. The 30-year-old has registered an impressive nine sacks and needs just four more to top the 12.5 he racked up in 2016. Golden leads all Cardinals in this category, including the great Chandler Jones who ranks second on the team with six sacks.

Hunting down opposing quarterbacks is not the only skill that Golden possesses. The 6-foot-3, 260-pounder has recorded 29 tackles, and he has forced four fumbles this season for Arizona as well. Golden is performing at a high level, and a trip to the Pro Bowl could certainly be a possibility if his stellar play continues.

Markus Golden returned to Arizona Cardinals after a one and a half year hiatus

Cards general manager Steve Keim has made many fine trades throughout the years, and the one that brought Golden back to the desert in October of 2020 is looking like one of the best. The organization sent the New York Giants a measly sixth-round selection for an edge-rusher who’s on the verge of posting the third double-digit sack campaign of his professional career.

Golden appeared to be headed for superstardom with the Redbirds back in 2016 when he and Jones combined for 23.5 sacks. Unfortunately, the former University of Missouri product suffered a torn ACL in 2017, and then he tallied just 2.5 sacks in 2018.

The diminished production soured the Cardinals on Golden, but the Giants inked the outside linebacker to a one-year, $3.75 million deal in 2019. Golden responded in tremendous fashion, racking up 10 sacks, 72 tackles, and a fumble return for a touchdown in 16 starts for New York.

For some unknown reason, the Giants cut Golden’s playing time in 2020, causing him to become disenchanted with the franchise. Keim came calling in October, Golden’s wishes to return to the Cards were answered, and the rest is history.

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Arizona liked what they got out of “Junk” over the last nine matchups of 2020 and signed the veteran to a contract extension this past offseason. According to, Golden’s new deal with the organization is worth $9 million over two years. Looks like more money well spent by a Cardinals management group that made many great moves in 2021.