Even though the immediate reaction amongst NY Giants fans after Nate Solder opted-out has been “spend, spend, spend”, the team should be prudent and stick to its rebuilding mindset.
I mean, these provisions were just recently hammered out and re-worked all within the last week and we’ve had so many COVID-19 provisions passing around the league it began hard to keep up with it all.
But now that we know – basically – what the cap ramifications will be for the NY Giants when it comes to the veteran opting out and effectively ‘tolling’ (pushing back) his contract to the 2021 season rather than just having his $19.5 2020 salary come off the books, Big Blue needs to earmark some of their 2020 ‘savings’ to address that oncoming problem in 2021 to properly navigate this situation.
Obviously, the initial reaction amongst most NY Giants fans the moment they found out they’d be gaining some $10-13$M in 2020 salary cap “savings”, depending on who you ask as the situation, becomes trickier when considering he’s already been paid a $3M bonus for 2020, but now that we know most of the contract is just being kicked further down the road the team needs to set aside most of that money to prepare with this same ordeal in 2021.
Signing one of those two premium vet pass rushers may help some for 2020 – when the team shouldn’t have many playoff aspirations – but it’ll add a huge layer of uncertainty to their 2021 cap situation when in a time where league experts are projecting the 2021 cap will actually go down due to lost 2020 league revenues on fans not attending games.
Solder will reel in an extra 350K for 2020 as qualifying as a “high risk” opt-out, but since the NY Giants only really “save” $3M in 2021 cap flexibility to due that paid bonus and the contract now effectively being spread out over three years, it’s not like this is some new found $19M lump sum — the team will still have to pay the piper, it’s just a matter of when now.
The biggest win for Big Blue in all of this is that Andrew Thomas will now have no one in his way when it comes to taking over as the NY Giants’ left tackle right out of the gates, something that should have always been the case but was “50/50” according to a recent Jordan Raanan of ESPN article.
Additionally, now the brass will get a look at a much younger, and probably just as good if not better, player at the right tackle position in 2020 as well, as Dave Gettleman heavily invested in the tackle position through the draft and free agency this offseason.
Having Nate Solder start off the year as the team’s left tackle after performing worse than any other tackle in the NFL in 2019 while investing the #4 overall pick on a tackle would have been a bad look and a horrific football move from a rebuilding standpoint.
Now, Thomas will be penciled in as the day one starter and get to take his lumps – should there be any – in a rebuilding year at left tackle, rather than in 2021 when the team has prospects to actually be good.
He also won’t have to learn how to play two positions over two years as he breaks into the league which was always a silly proposition.
The bottom line is, when you draft a tackle at #4 you almost always slide them right into the left tackle position; the only scenarios where it’d make sense not to is if the team already had a terrific left tackle or had serious playoff aspirations that a struggling rookie left tackle could hamper.
The NY Giants aren’t in either position, so it’s a big win that Solder decided to make this move and, in turn, name Andrew Thomas as the team’s left tackle in 2020 and hopefully beyond, while getting to take a look at several youngsters at right tackle, as well.