The New York Giants may possess a dilemma on their hands when it comes to the right tackle position next season.
After the Giants utilized their prestigious No. 4 overall draft pick on then-Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas last year, the initial belief was that he would perform on the right side of the line while veteran Nate Solder manned Daniel Jones‘ blindside.
Nevertheless, that changed when Solder opted out of the 2020 campaign due to coronavirus concerns. Thomas played his rookie season at the ever-important left tackle spot, and ahead of the new campaign, keeping him there would be in the team’s best interest. It’s understandable to not want to move him now and risk hindering his development in his supposed long-term role.
So taking into account how Thomas may indeed stay on the left side, who could the Giants employ at the right tackle position?
Nate Solder returns and starts (a risky move)
If Nate Solder is back with the team in 2021, he would likely be one of the superior options for the right tackle position. There are a number of risks to this type of scenario though.
For one, Solder is only increasing in age and slated to participate in his age-33 season later this year. Not to mention, it’s unclear if he would succeed. The veteran struggled mightily in 2019 (having allowed 11 total sacks) and doesn’t possess significant experience on the right side; Solder has been a left tackle for much of his NFL career.
Keeping him for the 2021 season would additionally be expensive. The Giants would endure a cap hit of $16.5 million but a $10.5 million dead cap if they were to cut him. Parting ways with Solder would thus save the organization $6 million in cap space and should be a move that’s heavily considered.
Matt Peart’s overall role is enhanced
The Giants drafted Matt Peart in 2020’s third round out of UConn, but it’s unclear if he could be an every-game starter in 2021. Peart started just one game last season (against Washington) and it was because Andrew Thomas was initially benched for disciplinary reasons.
Overall, he took part in 11 total matchups but there was only one game in which he was on the field for at least 50% of Big Blue’s offensive snaps.
Currently, the young offensive tackle doesn’t possess the necessary experience and requires more time to develop. But that’s fine — he wasn’t a first-round pick like Thomas and the front office knew he would be a project when it drafted him last April.
Could the staff trust him enough to expand his role by mid-2021? Potentially, but to commence the year, the Giants would be better off having someone more experienced start while Peart continues to learn on the sideline.
Cut Solder, re-sign Cameron Fleming
Taking this route would be much cheaper than keeping Solder around for his third season with the team. Cameron Fleming played on a one-year, $3.5 million deal this past year and could sign a contract that’s, at the most, just a tad bit more expensive.
Fleming would then be a reliable starter (which he was last year) while Peart develops behind him. The organization just needs to make sure Fleming would be willing to sign a deal of the same low-tier magnitude.
Cut Solder, sign a free agent instead of Cameron Fleming
Another move that’d be cheaper than just retaining Solder.
If Fleming were to test the market and end up elsewhere, the Giants could sign an alternative temporary right tackle option, of which there are set to be multiple in free agency. Chicago’s Germain Ifedi is slated to be available and so is New Orleans’ James Hurst, each of whom could possibly be acquired on a short-term, non-expensive contract.