The New York Giants struck out on their first attempt to get blocking help inside but appear to have been undaunted in their quest to help their offensive line in free agency.
According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the Giants are prepared to make New England Patriots left tackle Nate Solder the highest-paid offensive tackle in the NFL. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the deal was four years and $60 million.
The Giants tried to land guard Andrew Norwell, but he chose the Jacksonville Jaguars — for just slightly more money. Pivoting to Solder, the Giants outbid the Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns and Patriots, who wanted to keep Solder but appeared to bow out once the money got too big.
At $15 million per year, Solder way outpaces the previously highest paid tackle. That had been Washington's Trent Williams at $13.6 million average per year — and that's nearly a 10 percent jump to what Solder will average.
Solder's absence leaves a big hole on the Patriots' line. It's not clear who is in line to replace him on the roster or whether they need to add help in a watered-down free-agency market or through the draft. They drafted Tony Garcia last year, but he's coming back from a blood clot in his lungs that caused him to lose 40 pounds while spending the season on injured reserve.
The Patriots also have LaAdrian Waddle, Cameron Fleming and Marcus Cannon as possibilities with OT experience. Waddle and Fleming remain unsigned as of now.
But for the Giants, they have started adding pieces as they appear to be making one more run during Eli Manning's window at age 37. Solder will be 30 years old and has never made a Pro Bowl, so making him the highest-paid tackle certainly is a bold move. He joins running back Jonathan Stewart as a curious veteran signing but one aimed at improving the veteran talent and helping improve a locker-room culture that seemed to deteriorate last season.
After a tough start to last season, Solder appeared to play his best ball down the stretch. He had a fine performance in the Patriots' Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles as he allowed only one pressure all game with Tom Brady throwing for a record 505 yards.
Solder has spoken openly about his 2-year-old son Hudson's battle with cancer, so maintaining his health care had to be a major consideration. Staying close to the Boston-area hospitals where Hudson has been treated likely factored into Solder's decision, other than the eye-opening contract he'll soon receive.