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What Nate Solder’s contract will mean for the Giants

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Let’s find out how much the Giants’ biggest free agent signing of 2018 will cost the team each year

NFL: Super Bowl LII-Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

So that was fun, eh Giants fans?

After two days of seemingly little activity coming out of the Giants East Rutherford headquarters which was punctuated by the disappointing news that the Giants lost out on free agent guard Andrew Norwell to Tom Coughlin and the Jaguars, new general manager Dave Gettleman saved his biggest surprise for the first official day of free agency.

Just like that, the Giants added offensive tackle Nate Solder (New England), linebacker Kareem Martin (Arizona) and cornerback Teddy Williams (Carolina) to a group that also included inking running back Jonathan Stewart (Panthers) and holdovers like linebacker Mark Herzlich and guard Jon Halapio, the latter who was to have been an exclusive rights free agent.

Although that doesn’t seem like much, the quality is interesting. Ed and the guys have spent the day breaking down what all the signings mean so I won’t venture too far into that other than to say that Solder, Stewart, Williams and Martin have all been on teams that have made it to the postseason at some point in their respective careers.

The financial information on the signings is still filtering in, so I unfortunately don’t have all the cap figures to present in this article.

However, I do have Solder’s, so I’m going to break that down. (Note: Aaron Wilson was first with Solder’s contract numbers.)

As I get the other contract numbers, I’ll break those down for you as well and then when the dust settles, we’ll see where the still very fluid Giants cap space stands.

OT Nate Solder, 4 years, $62 million, $34.8 million guaranteed, including a $16 million signing bonus

Year P5 Salary Prorated Signing Bonus Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Other Cap Hit
Year P5 Salary Prorated Signing Bonus Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Other Cap Hit
2018 $5,900,000 $4,000,000 $100,000 $10,000,000
2019 $12,900,000 $4,000,000 $100,000 $17,000,000
2020 $9,900,000 $4,000,000 $3,000,000 $100,000 $17,000,000
2021 $9,900,000 $4,000,000 $4,000,000 $100,000 $18,000,000

Notes: Solder’s 2018 and 2019 base salaries (listed as P5) are fully guaranteed. His 2020 roster bonus is due the first day of the 2020 league year; his 2021 roster bonus is due the first day of the 2021 league year.

Breakdown: In terms of average earnings per year, Solder’s $15.5 million easily puts him at the top of the left tackle class, according to Over the Cap. But his first-year cap figure of $10 million puts him 12th among left tackles for 2018.

Given the structure of Solder’s deal, it is, in reality, a two-year contract thanks to the distribution of the guaranteed money that hits the deal in the first two years.

Should the Giants want out of the deal after that, their potential savings would be $9 million in 2020 and $14 million in 2021.

(Side Note: The current CBA ends in 2020, so it will be interesting to see how many o the contracts currently on the Giants books that are scheduled to go beyond that year are kept, outside of the draft picks from 2017 onward.)

Again, the Giants cap space is fluid — we’re still waiting on official numbers to come in on the Martin and Stewart contracts (I’ve seen the Twitter reports of the Stewart contract, but I’d liek to see how the incentives are distributed).

Pat’s Perspectives: The arrival of Solder pretty much seals the deal on two things that Giants fans have been screaming for the last few years.

First, the Ereck Flowers experiment is finally ending (though I suspect he’s going to flip over to the right tackle spot).

Second, the Giants will not be picking up Flowers option year (they have until May 2 to change their mind, but I doubt it happens considering Flowers would be paid like a transition player in 2019, a year in which the Giants will have to take care of Landon Collins and Odell Beckham Jr.).

Getting back to Solder, I’ve seen some complaints on my Twitter timeline from people who think the Giants got fleeced in the deal considering Solder hasn’t made any Pro Bowls like Norwell.

Let’s put this into perspective. First, Pro Bowl voting has long been a head-scratcher — if you don’t believe me go back and ask yourself why Damon Harrison, arguably the best run-stopper in the NFL, has yet to receive the elusive invitation to Orlando.

Second, the Giants desperately needed offensive tackles. Going into the 2018 season with Flowers and the relatively inexperienced combo of Adam Bisnowaty and Chad Wheeler would not have been acceptable, not for an offensive line which desperately needs better play across the board, but especially on the edges.

By adding Solder to go along with Flowers, they now have two experienced options. If they can identify/acquire a viable third option to serve as the swing tackle, they’ll be in business.

And third, unfortunately this is what happens when you have poor drafting — you end up having to overspend on guys to make up for those misses you had in your draft classes.

This is part of the vicious cycle that Gettleman is hopefully going to break starting this year. It’s going to take time, but with some prudent business decisions, ultimately the poorly constructed foundation from the years of bad drafts will once again become stable.