New England Patriots

Nate Solder “is wide open and will consider all options” in free agency, according to Peter King of Sports Illustrated.

So what does this mean for the Patriots and their soon-to-be-free-agent left tackle going forward?

First off, King is betting that the Houston Texans “will be all over Solder” in the coming days. And John McClain of the Houston Chronicle also reported that the Texans are “making a strong run” to sign Solder. Free agency officially begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday, but the any team can negotiate with him before that point.

As of Monday, the Texans are sitting without a first or second-round draft pick in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft. And they haven’t addressed the left tackle since trading Duane Brown to the Seattle Seahawks prior to the deadline.

So Solder is solidly on their radar, since they really need to improve Deshaun Watson’s blind side protection for 2018 and beyond.

The one thing Houston has going for them is that Solder and head coach Bill O’Brien are familiar with each other, spending time together with the Patriots during his rookie year in 2011.

And according to King, O’Brien holds him in “high regard.”

Going by gut feeling, “barring a crazy-money offer from the Giants or Texans (or a mystery team), which could happen, Solder returns to the Patriots,” says King.

HOUSTON, TX – Nate Solder #77 of the New England Patriots celebrates with his son Hudson after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

There’s one other X-factor in Solder’s decision moving forward. His son, Hudson, 2, is undergoing treatment for kidney cancer, and his treatment is based in Boston (for now).

So this may influence Solder’s decision to stick around New England for a while longer. But it’s not like there aren’t other pediatric cancer centers in major cities around the U.S., or the option isn’t there to travel back-and-forth given the right situation. This could end up playing a huge role in his decision moving forward.

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But on Monday afternoon, Mike Giardi of NBC Sports Boston had this to say:

So now we’re adding the Denver Broncos into the mix for acquiring the two-time Super Bowl champ.

According to King, “the Patriots want him back,” but we all know how stingy Bill Belichick can be when it comes to paying veterans of a certain age. (Solder turns 30 on April 12.)

Through seven seasons, Solder has started 95 regular season games and six postseason games for the Patriots. In 2015, he only got to play in four games before hitting Injured Reserve with a torn right bicep.

If the Patriots want to continue to protect their soon-to-be 41-year-old quarterback’s backside with a consistent, solid left tackle, they better pay up and get Solder to sign on that dotted line sooner rather than later.

— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com

John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at john.hardiman@bbgi.com.