The New England Patriots will reportedly lose left tackle Nate Solder to the New York Giants.
The New England Patriots tough start to free agency continued Wednesday. Things started poorly, as running back Dion Lewis and cornerback Malcolm Butler reportedly signed with the Tennessee Titans, and wide receiver Danny Amendola is heading to the Miami Dolphins.
The hits just kept coming, as left tackle Nate Solder is now leaving for another organization as well.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Solder has agreed to a deal with the New York Giants. After missing out on Andrew Norwell, who agreed to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Giants turned their attention to Solder and aggressively pursued him.
Just how aggressively? Rapoport says the deal is a four-year, $62 million deal with $35 million guaranteed. That makes him the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL.
Solder is a solid left tackle, probably not at the elite level. However, he represents a huge upgrade for the Giants, who have been looking for a left tackle since Will Beatty got hurt during the offseason for the 2015 regular season. Betty tore his pectoral that offseason, which pushed 2015 first-round pick, Ereck Flowers, into the starting left tackle role.
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It was a role that Flowers was not ready for and has struggled mightily in. With Solder now in the fold, the Giants offensive line could be upgraded at multiple spots. Moving Flowers back to right tackle could help the Giants improve two spots on their offensive line.
For the Patriots, they are now left with a gaping hole on their offensive line. They were put into quite a predicament with so many teams going hard after Solder, and decided to stick to their principles and not overpay.
With Solder moving on, the Patriots could look to retain one of their other offensive linemen free agents in LaAdrian Waddle or Cameron Fleming. Currently, on the roster, the Patriots have right tackle Marcus Cannon and developmental prospects Cole Croston, Andre Jelks and Jason King.
Losing the trio of players on Tuesday hurts, but Solder is the biggest blow. They do not have an in-house option to replace him like the other three players, but one thing they have going for them is Dante Scarnecchia.
Scarnecchia is one of, if not the best, offensive line coaches in the NFL. He will have a tall task ahead of him in 2018, but if there is anyone that can overcome the odds it is him.