After the agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA came to light, the “opt out” option for players quickly became a big talking point in fantasy and real life. Several key player throughout the league have opted out so far and it has now hit the New York Giants.
“players are allowed to opt out of this season, essentially putting their contract on hold for a year while receiving a stipend throughout the season, with “high-risk” players receiving $350,000 and lower-risk players receiving $150,000”As per the phinsider.com
Following the agreement, Nate Solder, starting left tackle for Big Blue, has officially opted out for the 2020 season.
Considering Solder’s family situation, the decision is completely understandable, as are the decisions made by the others players opting out this year. This decision however, could be a blessing in disguise for the younger Giants.
Young Giant blood
The Giants drafted three offensive lineman in the draft. Their fist pick at fourth overall was Andrew Thomas OT Georgia. At 99th overall in the third round they selected Matt Peart OT from UConn. Finally, at 150th overall in the fifth round, they selected Shane Lemieux G from Oregon.
The Giants offensive line starters weren’t set in stone going into 2020, but Nate Solder was definitely in line to start at either left or right tackle. With Nate stepping away this season to care for his family, it should be the perfect opportunity for Thomas to showcase his skills at left tackle.
However, the truncated offseason will create a substantial learning curve for this years rookies. This will leave the right tackle position wide open for auditions.
This is good news news for third round prospect Matt Peart; the assumed right tackle of the future for the New York Giants. Although his scouting report labelled him as a project, and not a day one starter he does have the skills to succeed. But throwing him into the fire could be either beneficial or catastrophic.
The Giants have already seen the results of a promising but flawed player being given playing time too early with Eric Flowers. His tenure with the Giants flopped after being rushed onto the field without adequate coaching. Bad habits that are formed when compensating for lack of strength are hard to unlearn.
Lemieux is a versatile prospect who is expected to learn to play center or take over for Kevin Zeitler in a few years.
If Matt Peart is not ready to assume the starting role, the Giants signed OT Cam Fleming as stop gap. He should be more than capable of manning RT while Peart learns. Fleming played under Jason Garret and Marc Colombo for the Cowboys, and was on the Patriots as well. That’s a lot of continuity with the current Giants coaches which should provide some veteran guidance for the younger players.
The New York Giants had already paid Nate Solder his signing bonus and roster bonus for 2020; in the realm of $6 million. His $9.9 million base salary will come off the books though, along with all season incentives for the 2020 season. The Giants will save roughly $13 million on the cap this year, with Solder’s decision to opt out.
However, the Giants will owe the money to Solder for the remaining two years of his contract, due to the opt out clause. The 2020 base salary is now pushed to 2021, and 2021 will be pushed back to 2022 – $9.9 million in both years. Unfortunately, Solder hasn’t quite lived up to his previous form, and the Giants are therefore locked in to the declining vet for an extra year.
No matter what way you slice it, extra rookies on the line is not good for fantasy football prospects. It could be argued that Nate Solder’s play last year was bad enough to lose his job as a New York Giant regardless, but a rookie left tackle will definitely give Barkley less breathing room to operate.
Despite decent play from Zeitler in the middle of the line, the two tackles gave up a combined 97 pressures on Daniel Jones, with Solder surrendering 57 of these. As the rookies adjust to the NFL, we could see Jones scrambling around more often than not.
Even if this makes 2020 rough, it could raise the upside for 2021 as the group gels. Offensive lines thrive on continuity, and the more snaps these young guys get together, the better.
Besides team proof players such as Saquon Barkley, this news definitely should lower all New York Giants fantasy draft stock.