June 21, 2021

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Nate Solder’s opt-out puts Andrew Thomas front and…

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Nate Solder’s opt-out puts Andrew Thomas front and...


The sudden opt-out by New York Giants left tackle Nate Solder on Wednesday afternoon leaves Big Blue’s offensive line in a lurch.

Solder was scheduled to begin camp as the team’s starting left tackle. Now the Giants will be forced to go with one of the following players there to start the season: veterans Cam Fleming, Nick Gates, Eric Smith, Chad Slade, Nick Wozniak or rookies Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart or Tyler Haycraft.

The odds-on favorites are Fleming and Gates, but the consensus is that first the round draft pick Thomas, taken fourth overall in April’s NFL Draft, could be the starting left tackle come opening night.

Thomas will be under severe pressure but he was drafted and now is being paid (he signed a fully guaranteed four-year deal for $32,345,588 this week) like a starter.

Either Thomas or Peart, this year’s third round pick, are expected to take over the left tackle position some point perhaps even early this season. Solder was one of the worst left tackles in the NFL last season when it came to surrendering QB pressures, so fans will welcome any new face at this point.

Thomas, who played at Georgia, is actually being forecast by many experts to displace Solder almost upon arrival.

“He (Thomas) was boringly good in pass pro in his final season in Athens,” writes CBSSports.com’s Chris Trapasso. “Per Pro Football Focus’ draft guide, he allowed just nine pressures (with one sack) on 410 pass-block snaps. Despite New York’s selection of Thomas at No. 4 overall getting pegged as a big reach by many, he’s NFL-ready. Along with paving lanes for Saquon Barkley, he’ll be effective when Daniel Jones drops back to pass too. Really, it’s a just a matter of time before he takes over for Solder at left tackle.”

That time is now, it seems. What happens to Solder now that he’s opted-out? He gets either $350K or $150K of his 2020 salary, depending on whether they deep him as “high-risk” and his contract get pushed to the future. That means his contract won’t expire until the end of the 2022 season.

Thomas will take over at left tackle — with any hope – and stay there for a decade. Many fans who booed Solder in 2019 won’t be calling for his return should Thomas have success as a rookie.

Nate Solder's opt-out puts Andrew Thomas front and center for Giants

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