Moeller: Giants’ Left Tackle Issue Needs a New Turn

Until recently, Giants’ GM Dave Gettleman appeared to have nearly every spot on his team as tight as a holiday gift bow.

There was the recent release of kicker Aldrick Rosas and the placement of cornerback DeAndre Baker on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, both moves alleviating some future headaches down the road.

Then the one position that has haunted them for the better part of the last decade surface again – left tackle.

Nate Solder, like many recent NFL players, broke the news of opting out of the season to deal with the issues of his child and family.

Yes, left tackle is open again.

Let us not forgot the saga of touted high draft pick Ereck Flowers – ironically now a starter at guard with Miami – and his troubles there before his move across to right tackle before his eventual exile from the Big Apple.

Solder was seen as the cornerstone solution to the position with a pair of Super Bowl rings. He received a contract to match his history, but he never lived up to his billing there. His opt-out left the team with approximately $13 million in cap space — reminder — Jadeveon Clowney or Logan Ryan are still out there.

So, where do the Giants turn to in early August?

One major option is the versatile Nick Gates, who can literally play any position up front and recently signed a two-year contract. He originally was seen in a battle with Spencer Pulley at center. However, he likely still looms as the line’s best utility player with his flexibility.

Placing top pick Andrew Thomas there could be a major mistake. The massive rookie doesn’t have the full effect of a training camp and preseason games to test some of his mettle. Let Thomas take the softer approach and try to settle in at right tackle. (See Flowers’ history there)

Other options could be fellow rookie Matt Pearl, who many feel could make the adjustment better, or former Cowboys backup Cameron Fleming may start the season.

The Giants would need to completely feel good about themselves to start Thomas and Pearl at both tackles this fall. It could work, but there also could be a huge fallout.

Gates at left and Thomas at right would appear to be the safest option in this unorthodox season ahead.  Yet, no one is ready to anoint anyone another legendary Jumbo Elliott or David Diehl.

On the free-agent market, Cleveland’s Greg Robinson, Houston’s Chris Clark, and the Jets’ Kelvin Beachum are still available. Robinson is 27 while, Clark and Beachum are both in the low 30s.

On the right side, New England’s Marshall Newhouse or Miami’s J’Macrus Webb are two of the better options in a deeper field.

The Giants have their first major ripple, and it needs a major fix.

It is a problem that needs a shift in its recent history.

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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