ARIZONA CARDINALS

Markus Golden to Sirius XM: Agent, Cardinals had talks of re-signing

Feb 22, 2019, 7:49 AM
Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Markus Golden (44) celebrates a defensive stop with Robert Nke...
Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Markus Golden (44) celebrates a defensive stop with Robert Nkemdiche (90) against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Soon-to-be free agent pass-rusher Markus Golden told Sirius XM NFL Radio on Thursday that he remained open to re-signing with the Arizona Cardinals.

He added that his agent and the team held discussions about his future in the desert throughout the 2018 season.

“My agent’s been talking to them, on and off, during the season, so I never cut out the possibility of returning,” Golden said on Movin’ The Chains.

He added that he prefers to play as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, something he did from 2015-17 under then-head coach Bruce Arians. Golden would get that chance again if he returns under new Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.

Last season, the Cardinals went to a 4-3 defense under coach Steve Wilks, and Golden played as a down defensive end opposite Arizona’s leading sacker, Chandler Jones.

Golden appeared in 11 games after beginning the 3-13 season sidelined while he recovered from an ACL tear suffered four games into the 2017 season. He tallied 30 tackles with 2.5 sacks, at times showing flashes of the weakside pursuit that in 2016 made the second-round pick thrive.

That 2016 season, Golden’s second after being drafted by Arizona, was by far his most productive. He recorded 12.5 sacks and 51 tackles with four forced fumbles.

If Golden returns to Arizona under first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury and Joseph, he would give Arizona another body at outside linebacker opposite Jones.

Arizona has already added depth at the position by signing 31-year-old Brooks Reed this offseason. Golden will turn 28 in March, and his chances of re-signing with the Cardinals will also be tied to what the team does with its No. 1 overall pick.

Ohio State’s Nick Bosa and Kentucky’s Josh Allen are both pass-rushers widely considered top-five draft picks, and Bosa is regarded by most draft analysts as the top prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft. A trade down by Arizona or a surprise pick of a lineman such as Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams would likely give Golden a better chance of returning to the Cardinals.

“Arizona gave me the opportunity to play, so we’ll see how it works out. No matter what happens, I’ll be ready and I’ll be prepared because I’m going to keep on working and I’m going to keep putting the work in,” Golden told Movin’ The Chains.

“And I’ve still got confidence in myself because I’m starting to feel back healthy and I feel like I’m back to where I need to be.”

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