Nobody expected the 2020 season to be as tumultuous as it was, thanks to COVID-19 and its effects on the planet. The New York Giants were not exempt from the hardships that followed, and players around the NFL elected to opt-out of the 2020 season due to the complications the virus curated.
One Giants player they decided to sit out last year was Nate Solder, the team’s starting left tackle. After the Giants drafted Andrew Thomas in the first round, the expectation was that Solder would swap over to the right side. Moving forward, the expectation is that the Giants will either retain Cam Fleming or insert Matt Peart in 2021. Solder’s playing days with Big Blue might be coming to an end, and if they cut him, he would save them about $10 million in cap space (post-June-1).
There is always the possibility that the 32-year-old lineman retires, as his latest comments indicate he might be ready to hang up his cleats.
“In a lot of ways, I felt like I was letting my teammates down,” Solder told ESPN. “I felt like I was letting the new coaching staff down. The fact is, as a 32-year-old NFL player, it just hurts my chances of having my career trajectory take off at this point. I just have to trust in God and see where he leads me.”
Solder’s football career might be trending downward, but it is his livelihood at the end of the day. He could look to find a new home elsewhere, but that could mean traveling across the country for months on end while his family is left behind. That seems to be a serious factor in his future plans.
Sitting out for the 2020 season was difficult for him in the first place, as the decision revolves primarily around his family. His son, who has been battling cancer for years, was simply more important than the game, justifiably so.
“Trust me, it was an internal tension. But once it became clear, the priority of my family’s lives, of our children and my in-laws and parents and all the connections in our community, man, I just value people more than I value my career in the NFL.”
The New York Giants will likely move on from Solder either way:
For Nate, this is life, but for the Giants, it is business. If the veteran elects to retire, the Giants will save far more than the $10 million they would collect if they cut him post-June 1. At this point, I would say there’s a 50/50 chance he retires or is cut, but we won’t know for a few months. Either way, Solder doesn’t seem too motivated to return to the football field, especially if Covid continues to influence the NFL next season.