The New York Giants have several difficult decisions to make on the offensive line after veteran tackle Nate Solder opted out of the 2020 season. After saving $9.9 million in cap space, they have a bit more flexibility to sign free agents if need be. However, I imagine general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Joe Judge would prefer to roll over the available cap to 2021.
Nonetheless, losing Solder will present issues in the trenches. With the Giants’ most experienced player at the position departing for the season, they will now have to rely on new commodities to supplement his loss. Players like fourth-overall pick Andrew Thomas, new signing Cameron Fleming, former undrafted free agent Nick Gates, and third-round pick Matt Peart seem to be the preferred options.
Fleming and Thomas are the leaders in terms of earning a starting spot. Having spent a top-five pick on Thomas, the expectation is that he will fill the left tackle position. On the right side, Fleming has experience, more-so than Gates. Some might argue that Thomas should start on the right side and Fleming on the left side, but I believe Judge will institute position battles across-the-board to shake things into place.
The New York Giants could call one youngster into action earlier than anticipated:
Peart, who was drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft, could end up earning starting reps in 2020. If any injuries occur or deficiencies begin to limit the Giants’ success on offense, they could call on the University of Connecticut product.
The rookie performed at the top of the combine class in 2020, finishing in the 90th percentile of all tackles. At 6-foot-6, he generally has the size to start at tackle. He just lacks the technique and a bit of muscle mass. Working out in an NFL weight room with professional coaches should do wonders for his physique, and learning from offensive line coach Marc Colombo will give him all the tools he needs to develop quickly.
The Giants could need him sooner rather than later, so expediting his development will be a necessity for Colombo.