Nate Solder is about to become a very, very rich man.
The now-former Patriots left tackle is expected to sign with the New York Giants at the start of NFL free agency on Wednesday. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network had it first and the news quickly got confirmed via multiple reports.
Rapoport later had the numbers: four years, $62 million, $35 million guaranteed. The $15.5 million AAV makes Solder the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL.
As tough as it is to lose Solder, you can't fault him for taking a deal as lucrative as the one he took with the Giants. Rapoport added that the Giants went "all-in" on Solder and ultimately "priced out" the Patriots and Texans. Clearly, the Pats weren't going to give Solder a record-breaking contract.
On paper, Solder is a bigger loss than Danny Amendola, Malcolm Butler, or Dion Lewis. There's no obvious incumbent at left tackle to protect Tom Brady's blind side. If they keep Marcus Cannon at right tackle, they'd be down to 2017 third-round pick Tony Garcia and Cole Croston as the only remotely realistic potential replacements currently on the roster. There's no guarantee the Pats bring back LaAdrian Waddle or Cameron Fleming, who are both free agents.
Of course, there's always the chance that Bill Belichick and Dante Scarnecchia figure things out, especially by the end of the season. But left tackle has long been one of the Patriots' most stable spots on the roster. It's suddenly wracked with instability.
-- By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff 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 Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].