Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Giants are expected to sign former Patriots left tackle Nate Solder, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). New York landed the franchise left tackle they were looking for, but it won’t be cheap.
The Patriots have lost some key free agents already this week. Wide receiver Danny Amendola is signing with the rival Dolphins, running back Dion Lewis has fled to the Colts, and now Solder has inked a deal with the Giants. The Patriots expected that Solder’s market would get too expensive for their liking and a Lewis re-signing was far from certain, but few expected the Pats to lose all three notables to the open market.
Solder, for his part, drew plenty of interest around the league before signing with Big Blue. The Texans, who fielded one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines in 2017, were reportedly a finalist for Solder, while the Browns were also targeting the former Patriot. This year’s crop of free agent offensive tackles was extremely weak, so Solder unsurprisingly was in high demand.
The Giants, of course, currently have a former-first round pick — Ereck Flowers — at left tackle, but he’ll now presumably be moved to guard, traded, or cut. With Weston Richburg already out the door, and fellow free agent Justin Pugh possibly not far behind, it’s possible New York will need Flowers to play on the interior of its offensive line in 2018.
Solder isn’t exactly a world-beater, as he graded as the NFL’s No. 32 tackle in 2017, per Pro Football Focus. But he’s been extremely durable over the course of his seven-year career, and that availability is certainly worth something. Aside from a lost 2015 campaign, Solder has appeared in at least 15 games in every season of his NFL tenure.