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Pats take another free agent hit: Solder goes to Giants

By GLEN FARLEY
The Enterprise, Brockton, Mass.

March 14. 2018 11:49PM




The Patriots have taken a blindside hit.

And franchise quarterback Tom Brady may be taking a few more of them because of it.

Nate Solder, the team’s first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and its starting left tackle since Matt Light’s retirement the following year, agreed to terms with the New York Giants as an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.

Multiple reports put the deal (first reported by The NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport) at $62 million over four years, $35 million of which is guaranteed, making Solder the highest-paid offensive lineman in the game today.

The blows the Patriots have suffered at the outset of the league’s free-agent signing period have been nothing short of staggering, Solder’s departure coming a day after running back Dion Lewis and cornerback Malcolm Butler agreed to deals with Tennessee and wide receiver Danny Amendola came to terms with the Miami Dolphins.

The loss of the 6-foot-8, 325-pound Solder leaves the team particularly thin on Brady’s blindside and at tackle where the Patriots’ most viable options to replace him, veterans Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle, are both unrestricted free agents who are out on the market.

As it currently stands, unless Marcus Cannon is asked to shift sides (which would create a void at right tackle), the Patriots’ are left to choose from Tony Garcia, Andrew Jelks, Jason King and Cole Croston. Of those four, only Croston, a guard-tackle who suited up three times in a reserve role last season, has ever suited up for an NFL game.

The 17th overall choice in that 2011 draft, the 29-year-old Solder (he’ll turn 30 next month) never reached All-Pro status with the Patriots, but he proved to be a solid presence on Brady’s blind side.

With the exception of the 2015 season, when he was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list on Oct. 14 and limited to four games, Solder also proved to be durable, missing only single games in 2013 and 2016.

Suh, Nelson, Thomas cut

(Field Level Media) — Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, wide receiver Jordy Nelson, tight end Julius Thomas, free safety Tyrann Mathieu, receiver Jeremy Maclin and tight end Eric Ebron are some of the names that have been released by their teams as the NFL’s free agent period begins.

Among new deals reported Wednesday, the Broncos agreed to terms with free agent quarterback Case Keenum on a two-year deal reportedly worth $36 million, the Chiefs also agreed to terms with free agent receiver Sammy Watkins (reportedly three years, $48 million) and linebacker Anthony Hitchens (reportedly five years, $45 million), and Teddy Bridgewater signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets that could be worth up to $15 million with performance-related money.

AJ McCarron signed a two-year contract with the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday. Before McCarron signed, the Patriots reportedly offered him a contract to serve as Tom Brady’s backup.

Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas plans to retire rather than return for his 12th NFL season.

, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on Wednesday afternoon, two hours before the start of free agency.


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