State of the Giants' offensive line
On Wednesday, the Giants officially announced that veteran offensive tackle Nate Solder will return to the team in 2021 after signing a new contract.
Solder opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the 32-year-old now set to return to the fold, he will join Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, Nick Gates and several other promising young players in the OL room.
Below is a breakdown of the state of the Giants' offensive line with the league calendar now officially flipped to 2021.
Current depth at OT: Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, Nate Solder, Jackson Barton, Kyle Murphy
Free agents: Cameron Fleming
Andrew Thomas was selected with the fourth overall pick in last year's draft and served as the team's starting left tackle as a rookie. Matt Peart was drafted in the third round of last year's draft and played in 11 games during his rookie campaign with one start. Nate Solder signed with the team in 2018 and started all 32 games at left tackle before opting out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He will return to the team in 2021 after signing a new contract this week. Jackson Barton was claimed off waivers prior to the start of last season but did not play. Kyle Murphy was signed as an undrafted free agent last year and spent most of the season on the practice squad. Cameron Fleming was signed last offseason and went on to start all 16 games at right tackle. Fleming is now a free agent.
Current depth at G: Will Hernandez, Shane Lemieux, Chad Slade (reserve/future deal), Kenny Wiggins (reserve/future deal)
Free agents: None
Will Hernandez was a second-round pick of the Giants in 2018 and has started 39 games over the last three seasons, including seven games in 2020. Shane Lemieux played in 12 games with nine starts after being taken in the fifth round of last year's draft. Chad Slade was signed in 2019 and has spent most of the last two seasons on the practice squad. He was elevated to the active roster for three games in 2020 and was once again signed to a reserve/future deal after the season. Kenny Wiggins spent the second half of the season on the practice squad and was signed to a reserve/future deal at the conclusion of the season. Veteran Kevin Zeitler was released last week after two seasons with the Giants.
Current depth at C: Nick Gates, Jonotthan Harrison
Free agents: Spencer Pulley
Nick Gates signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He started several games at different positions along the o-line in 2019 before becoming the full-time center in 2020, where he started all 16 games. Jonotthan Harrison was recently signed to a contract to serve as Gates' backup and provide depth across the o-line. Spencer Pulley was claimed off waivers prior to the start of the 2018 season and has played in 17 games with 10 starts since. Pulley is now a free agent.
View the team's current depth on the roster along the offensive line
Nate Solder signs new contract, will return to Giants
The Giants announced today that Solder has signed a new contract and will rejoin the team's offensive line.
Solder, 32, opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a testicular cancer survivor and his five-year-old son, Hudson, has been undergoing treatment for kidney cancer since he was an infant. In addition, Solder and his wife, Lexi, last spring welcomed a baby boy, Emerson.
After joining the Giants as a free agent on March 16, 2018, Solder started 32 consecutive games at left tackle. He missed only 57 of 2,037 offensive snaps, all of them in his second season. The 2019 season was the third in a row and the sixth in his career in which he played in every game and the fifth time he started each game.
In his absence last season, Andrew Thomas, the Giants' first-round draft choice in 2020, played left tackle, where he appeared in every game with 15 starts. Cam Fleming, who started all 16 games at right tackle, is a free agent. Promising second-year pro Matt Peart, a third-round selection last year, is a candidate to play that position. Solder last played on the right side as a rookie with New England in 2011, when he started 13 games there, including two in the postseason.
Solder played his first seven NFL seasons with the Patriots, for whom he played in four Super Bowls, winning two. Solder has started 127 of the 130 regular-season games and all 16 postseason games in which he's played.
Solder is a two-time nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, in 2017 with New England and 2019 with the Giants.
Pro Day Tracker: Georgia highlights Wednesday's pro days
The 2021 pro day circuit continued on Wednesday as five schools held their workouts in front of NFL evaluators.
The five schools that participated in Wednesday's activities were Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Pittsburgh and San Jose State. Of the five, only Georgia with EDGE Azeez Ojulari sport a prospect in Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 draft prospects list.
Below are some highlights and notes from Wednesday's pro days.
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah updated his ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft for the final time before the start of the draft.