The Arizona Cardinals front office may have made a mistake when they signed veteran Markus Golden to a contract extension.
The regular-season opener was just a couple of days away, and the Arizona Cardinals wanted to take care of one of the franchise’s most loyal soldiers. Outside linebacker Markus Golden was fresh off of a productive campaign with the Cards, and the organization elected to reward the veteran with a one-year contract extension.
In hindsight, the money that Arizona is paying Golden could’ve been better spent elsewhere. Through three games, the 31-year-old has contributed just four tackles and zero sacks to an up and down Redbirds defense. Did general manager Steve Keim make a mistake by adding another year onto Golden’s current deal?
On the positive side, Golden has been credited with five quarterback hits over the past three weeks. But the fact that the former second-round draft pick of the Cardinals has yet to bring down an opposing quarterback has been nothing short of disappointing.
Arizona Cardinals were expecting much more out of Markus Golden this season
It wouldn’t have been outlandish for the Cards to expect a good performance out of Golden, based on what the edge-rusher was able to accomplish during the 2021-22 season. In 16 appearances (five starts), the St. Louis native racked up 48 tackles, 11 sacks and four forced fumbles for the squad last fall. It’s much easier to post impressive numbers, however, when you have the great Chandler Jones lining up on the opposite edge.
Of course, Jones left Arizona back in March to ink a free-agent deal with the Las Vegas Raiders. When Keim did very little to replace the four-time Pro Bowler, the onus was put on Golden to fill Jones’ enormous shoes.
The Cardinals are now heading into Week 4, and Golden has yet to live up to that challenge. In fact, it would probably behoove the defensive coaching staff to go in a different direction.
Coincidentally, there are a contingent of fans who are calling for the Cards to give a pair of third-round draft selections an opportunity to show what they can do. Cameron Thomas has been afforded an extremely limited amount of playing time during the first three matchups. Myjai Sanders, the other young option, has yet to be activated by Arizona.
It would make sense to see if Thomas and Sanders can provide the Cardinals with a badly-needed pass rush. Based on Golden’s uninspiring play thus far, it would be hard to imagine that the rookie linebackers could do any worse.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)