The New York Giants haven’t had a perfect start to free agency, but they just added the perfect player to make them better on offense.
Nate Solder is going to be a Giant. According to reports, the team is adding the proven offensive tackle in free agency on Wednesday. In the now former New England Patriots player, the Giants not only upgrade the tackle position, they also just helped their entire offense.
When he took the job two months ago, general manager Dave Gettleman spoke about making the Giants better. In particular, he said success began in the trenches. He backed up his words with some serious action. This reported four-year deal for Solder is proof positive that the Giants are putting their money behind Gettleman’s philosophy.
The line needed help and Gettleman addressed the need in a big way.
The Giants offensive line has arguably been one of the weakest in football the past two seasons, a bit of a shock given that the franchise’s bread and butter over the decades has consistently been strong play on both sides of the line. But, the Giants in recent years, have ignored the offensive line in both the NFL Draft and free agency. Instead, the Giants tried to mask the o-line deficiencies with an offense that got the ball out of quarterback Eli Manning’s hands as fast as possible.
The 29-year old Solder becomes the Giants left tackle, a move that likely (and finally) moves Ereck Flowers to the right side of the line. It is an upgrade by every standard.
Solder is very solid in every facet of the game, a player who can start at either tackle position for nearly every team in the league. But he brings more to the Giants than a simple upgrade on the field.
He has the swagger of the Patriots, twice a Super Bowl winner who can bring leadership qualities to this team. Solder will be called on to do more than just protect Manning and pave holes for Jonathan Stewart and Paul Perkins in the backfield. There is a pressing need on this Giants team for leadership and Solder can fill that void.
Last year as the Giants season spiraled out of control, leading to the benching of Manning and in subsequent weeks the firing of head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese, it was clear that the locker room was splintered. There was finger-pointing, accusations of a player being a “cancer,” and multiple suspensions of players throughout the season. As if a 3-13 season wasn’t bad enough, the Giants had become somewhat of a circus.
But now, they have a reboot under head coach Pat Shurmur and Gettleman. In a player like Solder, there is a building block on and off the field. He’s a ballplayer, a grinder, and a winner. He’s also a leader.
He’s exactly what this rebuilding team needs.