Nate Solder became the first member of the NY Giants to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season due to COVID-19 concerns.
We previously discussed here how a potential opt-out of the 2020 season could be beneficial for both struggling offensive tackle Nate Solder and the NY Giants, and now, just that has officially happened.
According to Jordan Raanan of ESPN, Solder made the tough decision to put his family first and potentially turn away a boatload of money by using the league’s new opt-out clause that was invented specifically for this season.
Clearly, this decision weighed heavily on Nate Solder and I don’t think anyone who values family could look down upon him for making this call as most NY Giants fans know about the heartbreaking situation involving his young child who has cancer and the risk he would be engaging in by playing football in 2020.
From a football perspective, this will only help the rebuilding NY Giants in 2020 and beyond, as there was a solid chance Solder was going to wind up being a starter and take snaps away from a younger – and probably better – offensive tackle option in a season where the team doesn’t have any kind of Super Bowl aspirations.
There is no understating just how bad Solder has been for the NY Giants since signing his (at the time) record contract, as in 2019 he allowed the second-most sacks and most pressures out of any tackle in the NFL.
All of us here wish Nate Solder and his family the best, as he is a world-class human being and a terrific father.
How does this affect the NY Giants’ offensive tackle situation?
One of the drums I’ve beaten the loudest this offseason is that rookie first-round draft pick Andrew Thomas needs to play left tackle under all circumstances. Now, it’s all but assured that will happen and NY Giants fans should be ecstatic about that.
There was a small fraction of NY Giants fans that were campaigning for Solder to play out the year at left tackle while Andrew Thomas learned the ropes of the NFL at right tackle, but that never made any sense, especially for a rebuilding team.
Frankly, it’d be hard to see any of those players doing any worse than Nate Solder has over the past two years and one of them will get the opportunity to show they can be a long-term answer for Big Blue.
Unsurprisingly as the resident conductor of the ‘Nick Gates Train’, I’m rooting hard for him to win the job should he not wind up as the starting center, but any of those three options are better for the long-term health of the NY Giants organization.