How will Nate Solder opting out impact the New York Giants in the 2020 season?
The New York Giants are the latest team to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the risk the players are taking by even taking part in training camp this year, much less playing in games.
Giants starting left tackle Nate Solder, a big-money free agent pickup for them in 2018, has decided to opt-out of the 2020 season.
Solder notes that there are concerns he and his family have over their own safety, of course, but also the safety of their children.
His decision to opt-out of the season, until there is more clarity in terms of treating this particular virus, is definitely understandable, and even with the risk involved, it can’t have been an easy decision for him.
This decision has a tremendous impact on the Giants’ 2020 plans at the offensive tackle position.
Time for rookie bookend tackles?
The Giants used their top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, one of the top offensive tackle prospects in a class that was absolutely loaded at the top, and they prioritized him over everyone else.
They had to have no doubt he could come in and play well at either right or left tackle, but with Solder opting out, it’s likely that Thomas will come into the NFL and play his college position of left tackle instead of switching over to the right side, where he was a freshman All-American for Georgia in 2017.
This will allow Matt Peart, a third-round pick (99th overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft, to step in at his college position of right tackle and potentially start for the Giants earlier than expected.
Although Peart is a tremendous athlete with length, strength, and quickness, he’s got to improve his core strength and prove he can take on all types of rushers.
The Giants may not have a choice now but to let him learn on the job as the only alternative is veteran swingman Cameron Fleming, who does have some history with new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
If the Giants believed in Peart’s ability to start eventually, they may throw him out there this year and see what happens. It could be more beneficial for them to have Peart learning on the job given the circumstances unless Fleming is playing way better than he has in recent years.
The Giants could be entrusting the health of Daniel Jones into the hands of two rookie tackles with very different all-around strengths and weaknesses at this point.