With the 2020 NFL Draft officially in the books, the New York Giants finally addressed arguably their biggest need for quite some time now: offensive tackle.
With the selections of Georgiaâ€™s Andrew Thomas in the first round and UConnâ€™s Matt Peart in the third, Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge are hoping they found their franchise left and right tackles for many years.
The question now is, what happens with their $62 million dollar man Nate Solder going forward?
Obviously, Solder doesnâ€™t seem to be in the Giants’ plans beyond this season. Heâ€™s getting up there in age, his future replacements at both tackle spots were just drafted, and he was a liability last year. For all you fans, and there are a lot of you, calling for the Giants to cut Solder loose right now, I hear you.
However, I would suggest to tough it out for just one more season. Why? Well, there are a few reasons. The most glaring reason is that Solderâ€™s large contract isnâ€™t so easy to get out of until 2021. If the Giants did indeed cut Solder now, they would free up $6.5 million in cap space, but they would take on an ugly dead cap hit of $13 million. They could spread out his dead cap hit over multiple seasons if they cut him after June 1, but still, it may be beneficial to keep him around for one more season.
Another reason why is because of depth purposes, as he provides the Giants with another veteran option. He can start the season at right tackle while Thomas immediately takes over the left side, and if Solder doesnâ€™t show improvement, then he can be another useful swing tackle off the bench.
Maybe, just maybe, new offensive line coach Marc Colombo will be able to unlock something in Solder that Hal Hunter couldnâ€™t and get him to play better. Who knows. Solder also provides valuable experience and leadership qualities. The Giants now have two rookie tackles, and they will need all the help they can get when it comes to learning the playbook and getting adjusted to the pace of the NFL.
Itâ€™s difficult for rookies to do all that during a regular offseason, let alone a shortened one due to the pandemic. Having a guy like Solder who is smart and has been in the league for a while could really help the young tackles learn a lot during the summer and throughout the season, especially Peart, who is considered more of a developmental prospect than Thomas.
All in all, Solderâ€™s time with the Giants is inevitably coming to an end, whether itâ€™s now or at the end of the season. It was a questionable move from the start, and so far, it has done nothing but blow up in Dave Gettlemanâ€™s face. Fortunately, the Giants are in a better position now with their offensive tackle group. They have more options now to replace him should he continue to play poorly, such as veteran free agent signing Cameron Fleming and promising third-year man Nick Gates who can play there if needed.
Solder may not even need to start the entire season, depending on how quickly Peart develops. So, Giants fans, the disastrous Nate Solder experiment is nearing its end. Weâ€™ll just have to see whether or not that end is now or in February, but my money would be on the latter. The plan this season should be to start Solder at right tackle for week one, see how he does, and if he doesnâ€™t do well, send him to the bench for important depth at the position. Regardless, itâ€™s nearly a guarantee at this point that he will no longer be with the Giants in 2021.