Joe Judge talks up Markus Golden after Giants use rare tactic

It sure sounds as if new head coach Joe Judge is extremely interested in having Markus Golden as a member of his first Giants roster.

The Giants on Monday put the rare unrestricted free agent tender on Golden, meaning if he is not signed by another team by July 22, he’ll play for the Giants next season for a salary of $4.12 million, or 110 percent of his 2019 salary of $3.75 million. It is a tactic not used often in the NFL and one the Giants pulled out to possibly secure Golden, their sack leader last season with 10.

“Obviously we think he’s a talented player,” Judge said Tuesday morning on WFAN. “He’s been a great locker room guy. I have a lot of respect for him from afar. I haven’t worked with him in person yet.”

Two items to glean from that comment: Judge clearly spoke with people in the Giants’ building to determine Golden last season was “a great locker room guy.” Judge also used the word “yet” to describe working with Golden. Of course, if Golden gets a better offer elsewhere he will not return to the Giants.

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“But hey listen, we’re doing what we thought was best for the team in terms of using tags, things are allocated through the CBA and the way the league works,” Judge said. “At this point we’re exploring a lot of options for roster additions. It’s a fluid process throughout the year. We don’t stop after the draft, we don’t stop after free agency. It really goes through the off-season and continues into the season.

“At no point are we gonna say we’re established. We’d like to get to a point sooner than later we feel solid about players and positions were in but there’s external factors you can’t always control that create movement at positions.”

There is now a salary baseline for teams to use when dealing with Golden, who might not be thrilled with how the Giants manipulated this tender. It is perfectly legal, though, and Golden is free to shop himself to any team for any price. His market did not materialize the way he envisioned when he proved he was healthy coming off a knee injury, starting all 16 games for the Giants and getting double-digit sacks.

“I’m not going to go into the contact talk part of it,” Judge said. “I am excited about the prospect of talking with Markus and see where it goes from there.”

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