The signing of Nate Solder gives the New York Giants a clearer picture of how to rebuild its offensive line.
Well, New York Giants fans, it finally happened.
General manager Dave Gettleman has made it a point to rebuild the offensive line this offseason and he did so in a big way, signing former New England Patriots left tackle Nate Solder to a four-year deal worth $62 million on Wednesday.
The Giants lost out on All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell who agreed to terms with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday. Norwell was the player Gettleman and the Giants coveted the most going into free agency.
At the end of the day though, the Giants are better off with signing Solder instead of Norwell. Solder fills the most important position on the offensive line at left tackle and allows the Giants to build their line around him.
In the interior of the offensive line, the Giants appear to be sticking with Brett Jones at center.
According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, the Giants placed a second-round tender on Jones, who is a restricted free agent. Jones will make around $2.9 million for the 2018 season, after playing very well in his 13 starts at center for the Giants when Weston Richburg went down for the season with a concussion.
Richburg is now on his way to San Francisco, signing a five-year deal with the 49ers.
At the two guard positions, the Giants have already begun adding depth with re-signings of John Greco and Jon Halapio the past two weeks. Four-year starter John Jerry is also still on the roster. Jerry has started 62 games in his four years in New York. Not a punishing blocker at the point of attack, but Jerry is an athletic guard who moves well on his feet and was the pulling lineman for the Giants last season.
The Giants would like for those three players to compete for the right guard spot.
That leaves the left guard position open, where the Giants can slide in Notre Dame prospect Quenton Nelson, by selecting him with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
Nelson and Solder would give the Giants a great guard/tackle combo on the left side of their line.
If the Giants do select Nelson with the No. 2 pick or trade down and take him somewhere in the top 10, it’s possible that the Giants’ offensive line will look like this going into the 2018 season:
LT: Nate Solder
LG: Quenton Nelson
C: Brett Jones
RG: John Jerry
RT: Ereck Flowers
That’s an offensive line that can help win you football games.
You could also see maybe Flowers or Bisntowaty at right guard and Wheeler at right tackle if the USC alum continues his strong play from the end of last season.
The Giants can also go other routes through free agency or the draft to make up their offensive line.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero has reported a couple of weeks ago that Minnesota Vikings interior lineman Joe Berger could be an option for the Giants. Fellow teammate Nick Easton is another one. Both have previous ties with new head coach Pat Shurmur.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 28, 2018
Josh Sitton is another guard the Giants could pursue in free agency.
Last week, NFL Draft Analyst Tony Pauline reported that the Giants had scouts go down to Auburn’s Pro Day to check out interior offensive lineman prospect Braden Smith.
Not only that, but the Giants could take Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 pick and draft Smith in the middle rounds of the draft to fill its need on the offensive line.
The Giants still need to sort out the piece on the offensive line, but they got a good player in Solder to lock down the left tackle position, something they haven’t had in the last couple of years.
The Giants got a huge “hog molly” as Gettleman would say in Solder, and it’s a great start to rebuilding the offensive line.