Do the New York Giants have a darkhorse offensive tackle on the roster?

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Nick Gates
LANDOVER, MD – DECEMBER 22: Nick Gates #65 of the New York Giants lines up against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedExField on December 22, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

One of the biggest questions for the New York Giants this off-season is who will be their starter at right tackle. In 2019, they signed Mike Remmers to be their one-year option, and while he played surprisingly well, he will not return to Big Blue for the upcoming season.

You could make the argument that the Giants need both left tackle and right tackle, as Nate Solder had a very tumultuous 2019 campaign. However, I anticipate that Solder remains put on the left side, covering Daniel Jones is blindside. Cutting Solder would not make sense at this point, as he would count $13 million in dead cap, saving just $6.5 million for the Giants to use in free agency.

Alternatively, they could move him over to the right side, but the adaptation of new skills and abilities is not as seamless as you might think.

The New York Giants can go one of two ways at right tackle:

The Giants can pursue Jack Conklin in free agency, who is likely going to earn at least $19 million per season, or they can stick with a dark horse candidate already on the roster, by the name of Nick Gates.

Gates, who played tackle and guard last year for the Giants, was solid at both spots. His reliability and instant success make him a potential starter for the 2020 season, but GM Dave Gettleman might be concerned about his lack of reps.

Gates previously played left tackle at Nebraska, but in the pros, he was always projected as a guard. It is hard to anticipate the Giants moving him to right tackle permanently, especially after such a small sample size of reps. Still, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility, considering his low cap hit.

Gates will earn just $660K in 2020. At 25 years old, plugging in Gates at right tackle would allow the Giants to avoid spending big money in free agency at the position, and also utilizing too much draft capital to find a tackle. However, finding a young solidified college tackle would be a good move, considering the price tag of a quality option in free agency. Whether or not we can trust Gates in pass protection as the starter is yet to be seen, but he proved himself in 2019, and I wouldn’t rule out Gettleman giving him a shot in the near future.