Folks, unless you live under a rock you heard the news that Nate Solder has opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to concerns about the health of him and his family due to COVID-19.
Obviously Nate Solder made the correct decision here. It goes way beyond football and he has to make sure that his family stays safe. I would do the exact same thing if I were in his shoes.
That being said, this definitely has some on field implications for the Giants. It was expected that Nate Solder would be starting at one of the two tackle spots this season. It’s no secret that there are a lot of interesting options on the roster to replace Solder this season as well.
For starters, this move all but locks rookie first round pick Andrew Thomas in as the starting left tackle for the Giants in 2020. I’ve been on the “start Thomas at left tackle” train since the second we drafted him and now there’s literally no reason not to do it. I don’t care if he’s a rookie. I don’t care if Cam Fleming has some experience playing left tackle. Thomas is the future and he needs to play left tackle right now.
The right tackle spot is a bit more interesting. In my eyes, it’s a two horse race between Nick Gates and Cam Fleming. A lot of fans will push for third round pick Matt Peart to start but he likely needs a year or two to develop before starting full time. This could also put a huge dent into the plans of the fans who wanted Nick Gates to start at Center in 2020 as the team may need him to play tackle.
Let’s break down the race between Cam Fleming and Nick Gates. Fleming clearly has the experience advantage. He’s been in the league for six seasons now and he’s always been decent. On top of that, he has experience playing for Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett and Offensive Line Coach Marc Colombo in Dallas. That’s a good sized body of work for Fleming.
What does Nick Gates have going for him? He’s younger and he has the opportunity to showcase how he could potentially be the right tackle of the future. On a team that’s young and still rebuilding, that could be huge. If the competition is close then that could definitely tip the scales in Gates’s favor because being able to solve another piece of the offensive line puzzle that hasn’t been completed in years for the Giants is key.
It will definitely be interesting to see how this battle plays out. One thing that’s for certain is that Andrew Thomas better be playing left tackle week 1 as long as he’s healthy and I will be screaming that from the mountaintops for the next 6 weeks.