With a few key free agents, Pro Football Focus recently named the one player that they must re-sign this offseason.
For the New England Patriots, they have multiple free agents that were important parts of their team last season.
On the offensive side of the ball alone, the Patriots have Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, Danny Amendola, and Nate Solder, who are all free agents. In all likelihood, the Patriots won’t be able to bring all of them back.
Navigating the offseason can be very tricky with free agency coming well before the NFL Draft. The Patriots will have to prioritize where they will be spending their money this offseason.
Recently, Pro Football Focus named the player that the Patriots need to re-sign this offseason. They chose Solder despite a bit of a down season. Here’s what they had to say.
"While a case can be made that Solder is just the third best free agent on New England’s offense behind running back Dion Lewis and wide receiver Danny Amendola, his positional value and lack of alternative options should force the Patriots to re-sign the veteran. Not only is Solder an unrestricted free agent, but backup swing tackles Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle’s contracts are also up, which leaves the Patriots with just one player – right tackle Marcus Cannon"
For all teams in the NFL, having a good left tackle is extremely important. One of the recipes to beat the Patriots and Tom Brady over the years has been getting pressure on him. As the left tackle, Solder has had the responsibility of protecting Brady’s blindside. Even though Brady is great, no quarterback can perform up to their abilities without a good left tackle if they are a right-handed thrower.
Last season, Solder battled some injuries early on but ended up having a nice season. According to Pro Football Focus, Solder was ranked as the 32nd best offensive tackle in the league with a respectable 75.7 overall grade.
As a run blocker, Solder was graded as one of the best in the league. However, he was somewhat mediocre as a pass protector last season. Compared to 2016, it was a bit of a down season for Solder, but he was effective for the Patriots.
Since Solder is a left tackle, replacing him would be quite the challenge for the Patriots. Brady is not known for his mobility, so having a strong offensive line in front of him is extremely important. As the protector of Brady’s blindside, Solder is a very important player for the Patriots. With free agency nearly here, the Patriots will likely prioritize signing Solder.