It’s tough to find winners on either side of the NFL lockout, but if I had to find one, I’d go with the Patriots’ Matt Light. Light is a free agent (whenever free agency begins) and at the stage of career he is currently in, he would have been lucky to grab one more big contract. Originally, I thought that when the Patriots drafted left tackle Nate Solder from Colorado in the first round, that doomed Light’s career in New England. It was still widely thought that he could return to the Pats despite being an older free agent. However, the presence of a young left tackle seemed to negate the necessity to bring Light back.
Now, thanks to the length of the lockout, the tables may have turned back in Light’s favor.
All NFL rookies are entering camp whenever the lockout is over at a significant disadvantage. They’ll be without the foundation that OTA’s brings, including, as Devin McCourty explained to the Boston Herald, all of the terminology the Pats use during the installation of plays that occurs in training camp. That puts Nate Solder at a huge disadvantage and way behind the eight ball in the second-most important position on the field (behind QB): protecting Tom Brady’s blindside.
With Solder coming in behind, that leaves the door open for Light to return to his position at left tackle. Re-signing Light will allow the Patriots to bring Solder along slowly and avoid the bumps in the road that would come with starting a rookie left tackle, and one of those bumps could mean a Brady injury. What at first looked like the end of Light’s Patriot career now looks like a new beginning, or at least an extension.