The New York Giants may have shown their first sign of head coach Joe Judge’s influence on Monday evening when a report surfaced that they would be employing a strategy that few teams have before. You probably hear about “restricted free agent tenders” all the time — but you rarely hear about a team giving a tender to an unrestricted free agent. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Giants are placing the seldom-used UFA tender on defensive end Markus Golden. This means that if he remains unsigned past July 22, he can only play this season for the Giants — who would maintain the pass rusher’s exclusive rights. 

According to Yates, Golden can still negotiate with other teams to sign a new deal. If he indeed does sign with another club, he would count towards the 2021 compensatory pick formula. Golden is considered one of the best free agents available, and this strategy indicates that the Giants would like to keep him. There is also some speculation the Giants may be using this strategy to gain an edge on the compensatory pick formula, assuming he does sign with another team. In his first season in New York, Golden recorded a career-high 72 combined tackles and 10 sacks. He was originally a second-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals back in 2015.

Golden would get a one-year deal that includes a 10 percent raise if he ends up signing the tender, and he has until the Tuesday after the 10th week of the season to re-sign with the Giants. If he does not, he must sit out the rest of the season. Last year, Golden played on a one-year “prove-it” deal worth $3.75 million, which grew to $4.75 million when Golden reached a sack incentive clause in his contract, according to Patricia Traina of GiantsCountry.com. If he were to sign with the Giants, his new one-year cap hit is estimated to be $4.125 million.

The last time a UFA tender was used was by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick back in 2018. He decided to place it on running back LeGarrette Blount — who ended up signing a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles not long after.