New York Giants veteran offensive tackle Nate Solder intends to play in the 2021 season if the situation is right, per an ESPN report. The former New England Patriot, and 2018 Dave Gettleman free agent signing, opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns over COVID-19. Solder’s decision to opt-out was threefold: his oldest son Hunter has battled cancer, Solder himself is a cancer survivor, and the Solder family just had a newborn baby.
Since Solder was a high-risk opt-out, his contract rolls over to the next season. He is now owed $10 million while costing $16.5 million against the cap. His dead cap is $10.5 million if released. It would have only been $4 million if he did not opt-out.
Solder was made the highest-paid tackle (at the time) by Dave Gettleman, which, in retrospect, does not seem like a wise decision. His time in New York hasn’t lived up to expectations. Lest we forget who preceded Solder in protecting an aging Eli Manning; to be fair, that’s the main reason why Gettleman needed to upgrade that position in a hasty manner.
The Giants were not going to start Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart at tackle under Gettleman. Solder was effective in 2018, battling through injuries, but his 2019 was pretty abysmal. He surrendered the most pressures in the league. The last time he was seen in Giants’ blue wasn’t exactly encouraging.
Now the Giants have a choice to make on his fate. Yhey can release him now, or at the start of the league year, and save $6 million on this year’s cap. They could also wait and make him a post-June release and they would save $10 million on this year’s cap. Both decisions are viable.
Then there’s option C - keep him on the roster, have him help groom the young tackles, and be the veteran replacement for Cameron Fleming. If Matt Peart isn’t ready to assume the role on the right side of the line, then Solder could possibly fill that void.
New York must be 2020 cap conscious; Gettleman has acknowledged the urgency to provide quarterback Daniel Jones with skilled-position players. Does he mean in free agency or the draft? Decisions on Solder, Golden Tate, and Kevin Zeitler may provide insight into the Giants' intentions. We’ll have to wait and see.