Though it may seem like yesterday’s news, the New York Giants made the signings of left tackle Nate Solder and linebacker Kareem Martin official late Thursday evening.
Solder fits the hog molly description
In announcing the signing of Solder, GM Dave Gettleman said in a statement from the team that “yes” the 6-foot-8, 325-pound veteran is a prototypical hog molly.
“Nate has been a quality left tackle in this league since the day he entered,” Gettleman said. “He’s physically matured and he’s become as good a run blocker as he is a pass blocker. We’re just very, very pleased that he wanted to come here. He’s genuinely excited about it, which is important to me, obviously. Every decision that comes out of the GM’s office sends a message and I think this is a very strong statement.”
“The biggest thing about winning as a player is understanding what it takes to win,” Gettleman said, “and the understanding that the guys on the other side of the field are getting paid to play, too. That is one thing that Nate definitely understands. The Patriots have a very demanding culture up there, which we’re going to have as well. So it won’t be any surprise to Nate. At the end of the day, he certainly can show people what is required, the preparation and the work to win.”
Solder was the Patriots’ 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. He previously overcame testicular cancer, and his son, Hudson, has undergone treatment for kidney cancer, which was diagnosed when he was just three months old in October 2015.
“I’m really looking forward to my opportunity to help out this community,” Solder said. “We plan to be a huge staple with that. We plan on spending as much time as we can giving back, and spending that time doing that and on the football field. My main thing is that I’m going to try hard. I’m going to do the best that I can with everything that I’ve been given. It is all God-given ability that I just try to put forward.”
The Giants have told incumbent left tackle Ereck Flowers that he will compete for the right tackle job.
“As soon as we announced the signing of Nate, Pat [Shurmur] spoke with Ereck,” Gettleman said. “He called him on the phone to talk to him and said, ‘Listen, we’re going to move you to right, and at the end of the day, the five best offensive linemen play.’ That’s where they left it, and Ereck was fine on the phone.”
Gettleman said that he “absolutely” thought Flowers could compete for that job.
“He’s a big, strong powerful kid and it’s just a matter of getting used to playing over there.”
Kareem Martin excited to rejoin James Bettcher
James Bettcher was Kareem Martin’s defensive coordinator for the past three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. When the Giants gave Martin a chance to rejoin Bettcher in New York, he jumped at the opportunity.
“I’m really excited,” Martin said. “My agent called me the other day and told me that New York had extended an offer. With Bettch being the defensive coordinator, that played a big role in my decision. After playing in that defense for the last four years, three with him being the D.C., I learned a lot and I was able to grow a lot. I wanted to continue that maturation in this defense under him, so that played a big role in my decision to come here.”
Martin gave Giants fans a glimpse of what they can expect from a defense coordinated by Bettcher.
“(Bettcher) is an attacking coordinator,” Martin said. “He likes to blitz a lot, which is always helpful for guys like me. I like the versatility of the system. I’ve played a little bit of everywhere. I’ve played outside standup, I’ve played a little bit of inside pass rushing. Being able to be all over the field, it’s not a one-time thing, so it doesn’t get boring. It’s a fun and exciting defense, especially for the position that I play.”
Gettleman said the Giants are getting an athletic player who can still improve.
“When you get into free agency, in the ideal world you want a guy who is healthy and young,” Gettleman said. “Kareem is a 26-year-old guy that has some pass rush to him, has movement skills, has good instincts and just seems to be getting better and better all the time. He started as a part-time rotational guy and he built himself up to a point where he had 10 starts last year with Arizona.
“Obviously the familiarity with the system will be huge for him and I’m just very excited. Watching him on film, I think he’s got the ability to continue to improve. He’s 6-4, he’s 260, he runs a 4.75 and Bettch had him covering tight ends down the field; he’s running down the seam with these guys. We’re excited to have him.”
Kareem Martin Giants deal: $15M, $7.25M gtd, $3M signing bonus, salaries $2.25M (gtd), $3.25M, $4.2M; $500K roster bonus 2018, $1M roster bonus 2019, $500K roster bonus 2020, up to $1.2M incentive annual, $1.2M base escalator 2020— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 16, 2018