He’ll hopefully be the long-term answer at right tackle, but what will Matt Peart’s New York Giants tenure look like in the short term?
Many fans knew what the New York Giants needed to accomplish in the midst of this past April’s NFL Draft, and boy did they deliver. The organization along with general manager Dave Gettleman took it upon themselves to address the offensive line once and for all, drafting three individuals in that specific position group within the first five rounds.
One of these players is, of course, Matt Peart, a 6-foot-7 talented and athletic tackle hailing from the University of Connecticut. Big Blue chose Peart late in the third round (pick No. 99 overall) and it very much could end up becoming a steal of a selection. Even as an offensive lineman, Peart stood out on a struggling 2-10 UConn squad last year, earning first-team All-AAC honors.
The Giants are looking for him to eventually develop into the team’s concrete solution at the right tackle position, while first-round pick Andrew Thomas mans the more crucial left side.
It’s a scenario designed to be for the long term, so what exactly does the short term look like for Peart?
Well, we likely possess three different possible scenarios for Peart’s rookie campaign, the first of which is the most probable: He rides the bench and learns the position until the staff becomes thoroughly confident in starting him in 2021 or later.
It’d be a tough ask to have him start on this offensive line right away, especially considering he’s just a 23-year-old rookie. Sure, Thomas will be doing it at right tackle in his first year, but he’s simply more talented than Peart and was arguably the most NFL-ready tackle in this draft class.
The obligation to start veteran left tackle Nate Solder is additionally a factor in why Peart should initially sit on the bench. Solder’s experience (entering his 10th season) and salary ($9.9 million base salary, $19.5 million cap hit in 2020) will lead to the Giants including him in the mix. Simply speaking, with what they’re paying Solder, they genuinely cannot afford to throw him on the bench.
And yeah, Solder has struggled and did so to extreme lengths in 2019. But even if he continues to experience difficulties, the Giants would likely just swap him and Thomas before anything.
The second of our three scenarios encompasses Solder struggling so mightily by the middle of the year that the coaching staff feels the need to move Thomas over to Daniel Jones‘ blindside while plugging Peart in at the starting right tackle position.
As was said before, Solder’s on-field complications have been existent for much of his Giants tenure thus far.
After inking a four-year, $62 million deal to come to East Rutherford in 2018, Solder allowed eight sacks for 72 yards and committed four penalties for 30 yards in his inaugural season with Big Blue. Last year, he regressed, allowing 12.5 sacks for 107 yards and committing four penalties for 40 yards.
If the struggles continue in 2020 and increase with age (Solder is entering his age-32 season), the Giants could look to move him near the trade deadline, acquire a player or draft capital, and then place Thomas at left tackle and Peart at right.
This is very much a risky move though. Two rookie tackles starting within a young offensive unit which includes a young quarterback? That wouldn’t sit right with me and likely wouldn’t sit right with much of the fanbase either, especially when you take into consideration how Peart would possess little-to-no in-game experience by then.
Nevertheless, regular-season reps could indeed assist in Peart’s overall development, so that may be a legitimate argument.
And finally, the last of the three scenarios sees the Giants parting ways with Solder prior to the regular season and instantly starting Thomas and Peart respectively at left and right tackle.
This is undoubtedly the most high-risk and, quite frankly, the least intelligent idea the Giants could implement, both from a roster and financial standpoint.
Cutting Solder would leave the Giants with dead cap hits of $16 million this upcoming season and $6.5 million in 2021.
And then Thomas directly to left tackle? Remember when the Giants drafted Ereck Flowers and made the decision to start him there right away? I don’t think I need to tell you how that turned out in the end.
Thomas will require time at the right tackle spot in order to become accustomed to the speed of the NFL, especially considering the man didn’t undergo an in-person minicamp, rookie camp, or OTAs this offseason.
Peart immediately finding time in the starting lineup would additionally lead to some issues. It doesn’t matter if it’d be at the least important of the two tackle spots. He needs time to sit on the bench and learn the position just like Thomas needs reps at right tackle before transitioning over to the left side, simple as that.
If the Giants wish to proceed with this scenario, I won’t stop them simply because I can’t. It would be an extraordinarily questionable move that doesn’t carry a significant amount of intelligence though, that’s all I’m saying.
Witnessing Peart’s overall development should be fascinating. And if all goes according to plan, he and Thomas will man the two tackle spots with fifth-round interior lineman Shane Lemieux additionally in the mix, either at guard or potentially center. But for right now, amid an abnormal offseason and possibly strange regular season, the Giants need to take it slow with the former UConn standout and keep him on the bench until their confidence reaches the appropriate level.