New York Giants Have $21M In Cap Space – Should They Spend It?

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

The New York Giants have seen their salary cap space expand recently. The team had three players officially opt out of the 2020 NFL season due to COVID-19 concerns, freeing up plenty of money for Big Blue. Nate Solder, Sam Beal, and Damari Scott were the three players who opted out.

Now, according to Field Yates of ESPN, the Giants have the twelfth-most salary cap space in the NFL post-opt-outs. New York is sitting with $21,441,129 in cap space available. That is a considerable amount of money, but Joe Judge made it clear this week that the Giants “don’t feel like [they] have money burning a hole in [their] pocket.”

Joe Judge indicated that the team was not planning on spending this money. But that was before DeAndre Baker’s prosecution became official and before Sam Beal opted out of the season. The Giants have a huge hole to fill at cornerback and they might be wise to reach into their pocket in order to fill that hole.

Why Should They Spend It?

If the Giants spend this money, they need to get a player in a serious position of need. The biggest weaknesses on this roster are at center and cornerback. But the Giants seem content with what they have at the center position, preparing Nick Gates to compete with Spencer Pulley and Shane Lemieux for that job.

The Giants have a few young guys at cornerback that could fill the role, but their inexperience could lead to a season full of struggles. Last year, the Giants rolled into the season with a young stable of defensive backs. Week after week, the team’s secondary was torn to shreds. The Giants would be wise to sign another veteran cornerback to their roster for the 2020 season.

There are some notable veteran cornerbacks available on the free-agent market. The biggest name is Logan Ryan, a former New England Patriot and Tennessee Titan. Ryan’s time spent in New England gives him a connection to Joe Judge. Other notable free-agent cornerbacks include Ross Cockrell (formerly of the Giants and then the Panthers, giving him a connection to James Bradberry), and Dre Kirkpatrick.

If the Giants were to sign Logan Ryan, he could provide a huge boost to the team’s defense. Ryan totaled 13 combined tackles, 8 quarterback hits, 18 passes defended, 4.5 sacks, and 4 interceptions. His sack total would have ranked second on the Giants in 2019. Ryan is versatile with the ability to play in the slot or outside. More importantly, Ryan has experience, something the Giants’ defense lacks.

Why Shouldn’t They Spent It?

If the Giants decide to pursue a player like Logan Ryan, he will not come cheap. Ryan is asking for over $10 million, which would just about cut their cap space in half. The Giants could hold onto their money and allow it to roll over into 2021.

New York also needs to get its younger players more experience. Signing a veteran cornerback would take valuable snaps and playing time away from younger guys, such as Corey Ballentine, Julian Love, and Darnay Holmes. Sometimes, the best way to learn is through experience. Failure can be a great teacher (see Dagobah scene in Empire Strikes Back).

These young defensive backs have plenty to learn, and much of it can only be learned on an NFL football field going against the toughest competition. These young guys are the future of the Giants’ defense. Getting them the live experience now will help them develop in the long run. After all, the Giants are a rebuilding team with plenty of young players. It might not be in the best interest of a rebuilding team to spend significant money on a 29-year-old cornerback.

New York Giants: Daniel Jones talks new offense and progress

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants have reported to East Rutherford, New Jersey for NFL Training Camp. Among the many storylines surrounding the Giants is the progression of quarterback Daniel Jones.

Jones impressed in his rookie season under center for Big Blue. Across 13 games, 12 of which were starts, Jones threw for 3,027 yards while posting a 24:12 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Jones also ran for 279 yards and two touchdowns.

The Duke product is learning a new offense with former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett taking over as offensive coordinator under new head coach Joe Judge.

Jones finds Garrett to be “extremely detailed” (quotes are all courtesy of tweets by Giants.com’s Dan Salomone).

“He’s extremely detailed in his teaching and what he expects on the field.”

Jones says he and the Giants are taking training camp “day to day.”

“We’re taking it day by day, install by install, trying to learn [the offense] as quickly as we can.”

“My focus is on this camp and making sure I’m prepared mentally. … My focus is what we’re doing day to day here.”

Jones mentions how he has grown stronger.

“I feel like I’m as strong as I’ve been. … I wanted to get stronger.”

Jones’ receiving core is headlined by veterans Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard and the second-year Darius Slayton, who lead the Giants in receiving yards (740) and touchdowns (8) last season.

Jones commends what Slayton brings to the table.

“He’s a guy that comes to work every day and knows what to do…He can really get out and run, a big frame, a big target…I know he’s excited going into this year.”

The Giants have a lot of new faces on their offensive line: rookie tackles Andrew Thomas (4) and Matt Peart (99), rookie guard Shane Lemieux (150) and former Cowboys tackle Cam Fleming.

Veteran tackle Nate Solder, though, opted out of the 2020 NFL season. Jones supports Solder’s decision.

“He’s got an extremely tough circumstance. He’s got to do what’s best for him and his family. All the respect and support to him.”

New York Giants: Can Will Hernandez Bounce Back In 2020?

The New York Giants have consistently had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL for years. In recency, the team has put an emphasis on rebuilding the trenches. That all began in 2018. That offseason, the Giants signed offensive tackle Nate Solder. While that move has not proven to be the best, it was still the first shift towards rebuilding the offensive line.

Later that offseason, the Giants landed another key offensive lineman. In the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Giants selected offensive guard Will Hernandez out of UTEP. Over the past two years, Hernandez has showed promise, but he has struggled to develop into the player he was expected to be.

Will Hernandez’s Promising Rookie Season

Will Hernandez had a promising rookie season. Many believed Hernandez would be off the board in round one, but the Giants were lucky enough to land him in the second. He definitely looked like a first-round prospect as a rookie.

According to Pro Football Focus, Will Hernandez, in 2018, ended eight of his 16 games with a pass-blocking grade over 70.0, and he allowed just 29 pressures from 664 pass-blocking snaps on the year. On 1,027  offensive snaps in 2018, Hernandez committed only two penalties, an impressive feat as a rookie.

A Shaky Sophomore Season

Also according to Pro Football Focus, Will Hernandez was actually a pretty good pass-blocker in 2019. But he struggled immensely as a run-blocker. His PFF pass-blocking grade was a 72.5, while his run-blocking grade was a 45.7. His overall grade was 58.4 as the second-year player out of UTEP played 1068 snaps in 2019.

Hernandez allowed only 2 sacks in 2019 on 728 pass-blocking snaps. That is down from the 5 sacks he allowed in 2018, but his overall grading was much better in his rookie season. As a rookie, Hernandez was still better as a pass-blocker than he was as a run-blocker. His pass-blocking grade in 2018 was 73.1 while his run-blocking grade was 62.9. Overall, his grade was 67.9.

Will Hernandez was not a liability on the Giants’ offensive line last year and he was far from the biggest problem on the line. Much of his struggles could be attributed to his surroundings. Hernandez was sandwiched between an offensive tackle (Nate Solder) that allowed 56 pressures and a center that struggled the entire season.

The Giants have seemingly upgraded at both left tackle and center entering 2020. This could allow Will Hernandez to return to his 2018 form and maybe even surpass that rookie performance. Additionally, the Giants have a new, talented offensive line coach to help Will Hernandez Develop. Marc Colombo did wonders with the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line while he was there, and he will likely help the Giants’ offensive line improve in 2020.

New York Giants: How Nate Solder’s Opt-Out Affects The Team’s Salary Cap

New York Giants, Nate Solder

In May of 2020, the New York Giants reportedly had less than $3.5 million in salary-cap space. That number has increased significantly with the latest news of offensive tackle Nate Solder opting out of the 2020 NFL season. But head coach Joe Judge also stated today: “We don’t feel like we have money burning a hole in our pocket.” Regardless of how Joe Judge might feel, the Giants’ salary cap situation has changed drastically due to Nate Solder’s decision to opt-out of the 2020 season. How exactly does that decision affect the Giants’ salary cap in 2020 and ahead?

Nate Solder opting out of the 2020 season also has important implications for the rest of the offensive line. You can read about that HERE.

2020 Salary Cap

Exactly how much cap space did Nate Solder’s opt-out free up for the 2020 season? Here is what Jordan Raanan of ESPN reported on the topic today:

This is somewhat complicated. Solder was to count $19.5 million against the salary cap this season. He was to make $13 million, of which he already earned $3.1 million ($3 million roster bonus plus a $100,000 workout bonus).

It’s likely he will be classified as a “high-risk” opt out, making him eligible for a $350,000 stipend that will not be considered a salary advance. A source with knowledge of the salary cap confirmed to ESPN that this would leave the Giants with a cap savings of $16.05 million. – Jordan Raanan of ESPN

The Giants have freed up a significant amount of salary cap space in 2020. They could choose to spend that money or keep it as insurance, but it will not roll over into 2021.

2021 Salary Cap

Solder’s opt-out only frees up cap space for the 2020 season. This year’s salary will now be pushed to 2021. So if the Giants do decide to spend this additional money, it would have to be on a one-year deal.

Nate Solder’s contract was originally set to expire after the 2021 NFL season. Now, it will expire in 2022. His decision to opt-out might have extended his time with the Giants. Solder was a cut-candidate for next season due to his high salary and low dead cap hit. Now his salary cap hit in 2021 is $16.4 million with $13 million in dead cap.

The Giants’ new potential out in the Solder contract is in 2022. In 2022, Solder’s cap hit will be $22 million with only $6.5 million in dead cap. Ultimately, the Giants have gained salary-cap space in 2020 due to Solder’s decision to opt-out. But this decision actually inflates their salary cap numbers over the next two years. Regardless, it was the right decision for Nate Solder to make. His family’s health comes first. But it will be interesting to see how the Giants manage their salary cap with this new and unexpected development.

New York Giants: How Nate Solder’s Opt-Out Affects The Rest Of The Linemen

New York Giants, Nate Solder, Jon Halapio, Mike Remmers

Major news broke out for the New York Giants yesterday as starting offensive tackle Nate Solder announced that he was opting out of the 2020 NFL season. Solder is a high-risk opt-out as he has a son fighting an ongoing battle with cancer. Nate Solder is doing the right thing opting out to protect his family and their health.

For the Giants, this news has major implications. Nate Solder’s absence in the 2020 season will create a huge shift along the offensive line. How exactly does Nate Solder’s opt-out affect the rest of the offensive linemen?

New York Giants OT Nate Solder Opts Out Of 2020 Season

New York Giants, Nate Solder

The New York Giants have had their first player officially opt out of the 2020 NFL season: offensive tackle Nate Solder.

Nate Solder announced today that he will be opting out of the 2020 season due to serious health concerns. Nate’s son, Hudson Solder, has been fighting an ongoing battle with cancer. Hudson is at high-risk if he were to contract the coronavirus. The Solder family has also welcomed a baby boy as a new addition to the family this spring. Nate Solder has eliminated certain risks by opting out of this year’s NFL season to protect his family’s health.

Nate Solder released this official statement on Twitter below:

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to numerous opt-outs across the NFL. Nate Solder is the twenty-sixth NFL player to opt-out of the season, the first member of the New York Giants to do so. Training camp began yesterday for the Giants. Players underwent their first round of COVID-19 testing and will continue to be tested until they are cleared to practice.

With this news, the Giants have lost one of their two starting offensive tackles. This leaves the door wide open for rookie Andrew Thomas to start immediately at left tackle in 2020. Solder opting out also frees up $19.5 million on the Giants’ 2020 salary cap. But the money does roll into 2021 and likely extends Solder’s career with the Giants.

Nate Solder’s opt-out could also have a ripple effect across the Giants’ offensive line. This creates even more uncertainty over who might start at both right tackle and center. Nick Gates could see himself take a starting role this season and rookie Matt Peart might now have a shot at the right tackle position.

Nate Solder’s family is the top priority. He has made this careful decision to protect the health of himself and his loved ones and he deserves respect and admiration for doing so.

New York Giants And 4th Overall Pick Andrew Thomas Agree To Terms

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants have agreed to terms with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, offensive tackle Andrew Thomas. The Giants and Thomas are in agreement on a four-year, fully guaranteed $32.345M contract with a $21.1M signing bonus, according to Ian Rapoport.

Andrew Thomas, the three-year starter out of Georgia, is the fourth top-five pick to get his deal done. Thomas will take a physical today then sign the contract.

The New York Giants desperately needed an upgrade at offensive tackle this offseason. Last season, the Giants’ starting offensive tackles allowed a combined 96 pressures. Nate Solder accounted for 56 of those pressures and also allowed 11 sacks on the season. Andrew Thomas is now in a contractual agreement to be the Giants’ left tackle of the future.

Andrew Thomas played 1,075 pass-block snaps in his collegiate career. On those snaps, Thomas allowed only 37 total pressures. He also has not allowed more than 2 pressures in a game since 2017 (his freshman season at right tackle).

The Giants report to training camp tomorrow. New York is working to get its entire rookie draft class under contract. Sixth-round pick Cam Brown signed his rookie contract earlier today. Seventh-round pick Tae Crowder has also signed. TJ Brunson, Matt Peart, and Darnay Holmes have also agreed to terms with the Giants. There are only a few rookies left for the Giants to sign, including second-round pick Xavier McKinney. Expect to see the Giants complete these deals with their rookies very soon.

The New York Giants could lose Nate Solder in 2020 due to Covid-19 concerns

New York Giants, Nate Solder

The New York Giants are gearing up for training camp to begin, with rookies reporting on Tuesday.

The offensive line remains a questionable unit. There are multiple position battles that will take place in te coming weeks.. Left tackle, right tackle, and center all represent open spots. Drafting Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick gives the Giants a fresh face to add to the mix.

However, they are still dealing with the Nate Solder predicament. Solder ranked as one of the worst tackles in the league in 2019, allowing 11 sacks and five penalties. His struggles are more technique based, having made a poor transition from the New England Patriots over to the Giants in 2018. There is a more personal deficiency at play. It revolves around his young son who has been battling cancer for the past few years.

According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, Solder represents a David Vs. Goliath complex, dealing with cancer within his family and playing football.

Within the Giants’ walls, Solder is respected as a towering athlete and soulful leader, a durable and reliable player whose on-field performance for some reason deteriorated badly in 2019.

Head coach Joe Judge is excited to work with Solder:

“Yes, I believe in Nate Solder.” I’m happy Nate Solder is here. I can’t wait to work with him on the field. Nate’s been a great leader for us, Nate’s working his butt off. I’m very excited to have Nate on the team.”

“I know Nate, I’ve known him for years,’’ Judge said. “I know what he’s capable of, and I know [offensive line coach] Marc Colombo is going to work his butt off with Nate, and I know Nate is going to work as hard as he can to be the best player he can. I’m excited to see him in the field.’’

The New York Giants should be preparing for the worst-case scenario

The Giants’ organization is clearly high on Nate, who they paid a record amount for two years ago. The COVID-19 pandemic represents just another hurdle the left tackle will have to consider this NFL season.

His son, who could be a liable risk due to the virus and Solder’s insertion in the trenches of football, could force him to opt-out of the 2020 season. This is a very real scenario the Giants must be considering. The left tackle has always put his family first.

If Solder does, in fact, opt-out, Thomas would immediately start at left tackle and Cameron Fleming/Nick Gates would battle it out on the right side. Luckily, the Giants have the talent to work around that scenario, but it certainly would be a significant hit to their continuity.

New York Giants: What Will The Starting Offensive Line Look Like In 2020?

New York Giants, Nate Solder, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants have had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL over the past few years. The team has struggled to find consistent offensive tackle play since investing a top-ten pick in Ereck Flowers in 2015. From Flowers to Solder, the Giants have been disappointed by their recent expensive offensive line investments.

New York is hoping that that trend of disappointing offensive line investments ends after this season. This offseason, the Giants invested heavily in their offensive line, drafting three linemen in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Giants also signed an offensive tackle in free agency and significantly upgraded their offensive line coach.

Giants fans are hopeful about their offensive line for the first time in a while. Andrew Thomas was drafted fourth overall, signaling a cultural shift by the Giants towards a more traditional team-building philosophy. The Giants are prioritizing the offensive line and finally, for the first time in years, have depth in the positional group.

Projecting the 2020 Offensive Line

 

  • LT – Andrew Thomas
  • LG – Will Hernandez
  • C – Nick Gates
  • RG – Kevin Zeitler
  • RT – Nate Solder
  • Depth – Spencer Pulley, Shane Lemieux, Cameron Fleming, and Matt Peart
  • OL Coach – Marc Colombo

The Starting Five

The Giants drafted Andrew Thomas to be the team’s left tackle of the future. Some have suggested that Thomas should start his career at right tackle, but in my opinion, Thomas should start at left tackle right away.

Nate Solder allowed 11 sacks in 2019 according to Pro Football Focus, the third most out of any offensive tackle in the NFL. To make matters even worse, Solder allowed 57 pressures in 2019. This was the most of any offensive lineman in the NFL. Andrew Thomas played 1,075 pass-block snaps in his collegiate career. On those snaps, Thomas allowed only 37 total pressures. He also has not allowed more than 2 pressures in a game since 2017 (his freshman season at right tackle). It is highly possible that Andrew Thomas is the best left tackle on the Giants’ roster despite never playing a snap in the NFL.

Will Hernandez is entering his third NFL season after taking a small step back in 2019. Big Will looked promising as a rookie but struggled to develop as a sophomore. This could have been for a couple of reasons: Hernandez was playing between two bad players, and the Giants’ coaching staff was one of the league’s worst. Luckily for Hernandez, both of these problems seem to have been fixed. This could be his breakout season.

The center position is by far the biggest question mark on the Giants’ roster in 2020. There will be a positional battle at center during training camp and preseason. In my opinion, Nick Gates is the top candidate for the position. Gates finished the 2019 season with a 77.0 overall grade and only 1 sack allowed in 290 snaps (Pro Football Focus). However, Spencer Pulley could win the job based on seniority and past experience. Gates has never played center before but has been impressive in limited snaps at offensive guard and offensive tackle.

Despite never making the Pro Bowl in his career, Kevin Zeitler has been one of the best pass-blocking offensive guards in the NFL. Also according to Pro Football Focus, Zeitler finished with the sixth-best grade among guards and posted a strong 75.0 pass-blocking grade — the sixth-straight year he’s achieved that mark. Zeitler is a lock for the Giants’ right guard position and should get a contract extension after his contract expires next offseason.

Solid Depth

Nate Solder is likely to move over to right tackle, but if that does not go well, the Giants have solid depth pieces behind him. New York signed Cam Fleming this offseason to be a swing tackle or backup offensive tackle. They also drafted Matt Peart out of UConn in the third round. Peart is not likely to be ready for NFL action in his first season, but he has a lot of potential down the road as a starting offensive tackle.

An Improved Coaching Staff

The hiring of Marc Colombo was huge for the Giants. Colombo has helped maintain the Dallas Cowboy’s offensive line’s status as one of the best in the NFL. Cowboys players have stated that Colombo’s relatability in his youth helped the offensive line grow and gravitate towards its coach.

“I’ve had the pleasure of being around a lot of people in this game. But Marc is in the front of the class. That’s the ultimate compliment I can give him. You get inspired by Marc every day you’re around him.” – Jason Garrett on Mar Colombo via ESPN

 

New York Giants: New Report Paints A Different Picture Of Nate Solder

New York Giants, Nate Solder

Nate Solder is set to have a make or break season with the New York Giants this year. The Giants are definitely overpaying for Solder’s talents, but the degree that they’re overpaying depends on the production they get from the left tackle.

Solder didn’t do nearly enough to earn his salary last season. As for the current season, we have yet to see where Solder fits into the plans. The team presumably isn’t going to send a player they’re paying this much for to the bench. Even if rookie Andrew Thomas is the more attractive option at left tackle.

A new report, though, claims that Solder has a better reputation inside the organization than he does with the fans.

Do the New York Giants still believe in Nate Solder?

According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, Solder still has a pretty good reputation within the team itself. It will be a surprising revelation to some – the narrative around Solder outside of the team is almost entirely negative thanks to his high cost and underperformance.

Within the Giants’ walls, Solder is respected as a towering athlete and soulful leader, a durable and reliable player whose on-field performance for some reason deteriorated badly in 2019.

The report also claims the Giants never seriously considered moving on from Solder after the season. It’s more likely that they’ll start both Solder and Andrew Thomas. That indeed looks like the option the Giants will go with. Solder didn’t perform as expected last year, but on the other hand, the team has no other right tackle option with as much credibility as Solder.

It might not be the most popular decision with fans. But with no other apparent alternative, it looks like the choice the team will make.

Is it for better or worse? Well, training camp begins near the end of this month, if nothing changes again, and that’s the first time we’ll get to see just what kind of state Nate Solder is in this year.