As bad as the Nate Solder signing has ended up being for the NY Giants, restructuring his contract in 2019 is hampering the team even more than the original deal.
The NY Giants are in a solid spot asset wise heading into the 2020 offseason, but just imagine where they could be if Dave Gettleman had never made the foolish mistake to restructure Nate Solder after watching him play football with Big Blue in 2018.
‘The cover up is worse than the crime’ is a perfect way to describe the Dave Gettleman/Nate Solder situation. Mostly anyone with a brain knew after the 2018 season that handing Solder the richest offensive lineman contract in free agency was a catastrophic mistake.
With that understood, it makes the fact that Gettleman chose to kick the can further down the road to have some extra money for an emergency fund for a rebuilding team egregious at best, and malpractice at worst.
It’s another head-scratching move in a long list of such decisions that demonstrate why going for it when you have a team that clearly needs to be torn down can have a demoralizing effect on a franchise. The NY Giants were not expected to compete in 2019 by mostly everyone, and the four-win team would have been better-served cap-wise, and roster-building wise by filling out any emergency holes with practice squad players or undrafted free agents.
For a measly $5M in 2019 cap space, Gettleman made the possibility of moving on from Solder in 2020 go from doable to likely not even to be considered. Solder’s 2020 dead cap hit jumped from $8M (which is already crazy high for year three of a contract) all the way up to $13M after the restructure, and his overall cap hits jumped $2.5M in 2020 and 2021.
What did the NY Giants do with that ‘saved’ cap space you ask? Nothing. The team didn’t even pony up for a veteran runningback with a pulse for the New England game – when the team was actually still alive early in the season – and limped it’s way to a 4-12 campaign.
Now, instead of ‘saving’ $11.5M against the cap by releasing Solder this offseason, the team will ‘only’ save $6.5M. To me, the release still needs to happen as the contract as a whole should be considered all dead cap by this point.
Solder will be 32-years-old in 2020, coming off a season where he allowed the second-most sacks in the entire NFL and the most pressures. That’s not a player you can risk having on the field while putting a precious commodity like Daniel Jones‘ health at risk.
Keeping Solder could also potentially change Big Blue’s draft plans in the first round, although it shouldn’t. But, with so many holes littered throughout this roster, Gettleman could feel the need to put together the best possible team for 2020 on the field (in his mind) in an effort to save his job, instead of finally addressing the tackle position early in the draft once and for all.
We’ll see how this plays out, but you can pretty much bet that Solder will be on the roster this coming season. The restructure makes that all the more difficult to swallow, as this offseason would look completely different with another $5M in cap space and the team not feeling it ‘needs’ to hang onto the struggling tackle to avoid more dead cap space.
Lastly, whatever happens with Nate Solder on the football field, I can speak for all of us at GMENHQ by saying we hope his son beats his cancer battle in short order. Despite his struggles as a NY Giant, Nate Solder is a world-class human being and the epitome of a great father.