New England Patriots

The Patriots need to find a new left tackle. It’s not an ideal situation. But it’s one they may look to solve in free agency.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network tweeted on Thursday that the Patriots are active in the free-agent tackle market now that Nate Solder is signing with the New York Giants. He says that free-agent tackle Austin Howard, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens, is “drawing considerable interest” from New England.

In addition, the Pats are looking into re-signing one of their own two tackles that became free agents on Wednesday, Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle.

Howard, 30, played nearly 100 percent of snaps at right tackle for the Ravens in 2017. He’s been a right tackle for most of his eight-year NFL career. So if the Pats signed him, the plan could be to move Marcus Cannon to left tackle.

That may also be the plan if they end up re-signing Waddle, who played surprisingly well at right tackle in 2017 after Cannon suffered an ankle injury. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald confirmed the team’s interest in both of their free-agent tackles, but that “nothing is imminent.”

It probably doesn’t matter who the Pats put at left tackle at this point. Nothing will make anyone feel any better than keeping Solder would’ve done. Whatever moves they do make, it won’t be known how they worked out until the season starts. And even then, it may take until the playoffs to really, truly know how much Solder’s departure really hurt them.

— 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 matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.