Offensive tackle Nate Solder, the man pegged with the job of protecting perceived-franchise quarterback Daniel Jones’ backside, has decided to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season. In return, stripping the New York Giants of one of their most important offensive players.
While the selection of fourth-overall pick Andrew Thomas definitely eases the negative fallout from Solder’s decision to step away, it most definitely doesn’t eliminate it. In fact, it mostly just pushes concerns to the opposite side of the offensive line.
Thomas’ inevitable insertion as Big Blue’s starting left tackle will now almost certainly be expedited. However, with Thomas being projected as the team’s starting right tackle less than 24 hours ago, the team has now been left with a gaping hole on their rebuilt offensive line and will likely look to fill it in an urgent manner.
Interestingly enough, while numerous players such as Solder are deciding to step away from football for the season, retired offensive lineman Alex Boone has his eyes on a return to the gridiron, and he may be just what the Giants are looking for.
Are the Giants the Perfect Fit for Alex Boone?
Boone hasn’t played in an NFL game in two seasons after calling it quits on his NFL career following the completion of the 2017 season. However, after a two-year layoff and losing a ton of weight while prepping for an ironman, the 33-year-old is training, healthy, and nearly back to his playing weight and per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, numerous teams are interested.
Boone, who comes in at 6-foot-7-inches and currently weighs around 315-pounds (15-pounds lighter than his previous playing weight), spent eight seasons in the NFL as a member of the 49ers, Vikings and Cardinals.
His best campaign came back in 2012 with the Niners when he was named an All-Pro selection by Pro Football Focus after posting an overall PFF grade of 81.3.
Overall, Boone has appeared in 105 games during his NFL career. Of the 105 games, Boone has started 86, namely from either the left or right guard position. However, Boone has also taken snaps at the tackle position in the past and was a former First-Team All-Big Ten selection as a starting left tackle during his college days at Ohio State.
Now, are we saying Boone is the be-all-end-all answer to replace Solder? Certainly not. With that said, his experience and versatility at a multitude of positions, whether as a reserve or spot starter, would be a welcomed addition in New York and allow the team to be much more flexible with their stating-five upfront.
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What Boone’s Addition Could Mean for Giants’ O-Line as a Whole
New York’s top-two candidates to start at right tackle at the moment are most likely the intriguing, yet raw third-round draft pick Matt Peart, as well as free-agent addition Cam Fleming.
If that latter were to leave camp victorious in the position battle, Big Blue may have found themselves a serviceable right tackle, but it would also strip them of one of the NFL’s better swing tackles over the past few years.
A similar fallout could occur based on who wins the starting center Gig in New York. Nick Gates and Rookie Shane Lemieux will both be given the opportunity to nail down the job, while also cross-training at other positions this training camp.
If Lemieux was to win the job, that would in return leave a reserve hole behind starting guards Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler. If Gates were to stake claim to the center position, the repercussions towards the New York’s o-line depth may be even worse, as Gates has previously flip-flopped between both the guard and right tackle position over his Giants career.
Is Boone the headline snatching addition some Giants fans may be in search of after hearing the news of Solder? Likely not. However, New York has proven their want to avoid such additions this offseason. They decided not to pursue free-agent Jadeveon Clowney on the open market, while their response to cornerback DeAndre Baker landing on the NFL’s Commissioner Exempt List was to go out and claim Shakial Taylor off waivers, a player with a mere five games of NFL experience and seven career tackles to his name.
The potential addition of Boone may not be flashy, but it would add a sizable jolt to the team’s depth, while also falling in line with New York’s way of thinking this offseason.