New York Giants offensive tackle Nate Solder announced Wednesday that he won’t play in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Solder said he had prayed over the decision with his family and decided that his son’s fight with cancer took precedence over football in 2020.
In a statement, Solder said:
“Our family has health concerns, most notably our son’s ongoing battle with cancer, as well as my own bout with cancer. We also welcomed a new addition to our family this spring, a baby boy. With fear and trembling, we struggle to keep our priorities in order and, for us, our children’s health and the health of our neighbors comes before football. We fully recognize that being able to make a decision like this is a privilege.”
Solder was diagnosed with testicular cancer ahead of the 2014 season when he was with the New England Patriots. Doctors removed a testicle in April of that year and found that the cancer hadn’t spread. He then started every game in 2014 as the Patriots won the Super Bowl.
$10M base salary in 2020
Solder, a first-round pick of the Patriots in 2011, is the highest-paid player — so far — to opt out of the 2020 season because of coronavirus concerns. Solder signed a four-year contract with the Giants ahead of the 2018 season that had nearly $35 million in guaranteed money.
He was set to make $9.9 million in base salary in 2020 along with a $3 million roster bonus and a $100,000 roster bonus for a 2020 cash value of $13 million. His salary-cap hit for the Giants was just under $20 million because of his contract’s structure.
Solder made approximately $28 million over the course of his career with the Patriots and made over $27 million in his first two years with the Giants thanks to $11 million in base salary and a $16 million signing bonus.
He’s also the highest-profile offensive lineman to opt out of the 2020 season following free-agent guard Larry Warford and Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, the first player to say he was sitting out the season.
Rookie Andrew Thomas to left tackle?
Solder’s absence in 2020 opens up a hole on the left side of the Giants’ offensive line. New York drafted Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas with the No. 4 pick in April with plans to put him at right tackle this season before a potential move to the left.
That could change without Solder. Thomas could end up starting right away at left tackle alongside left guard Will Hernandez. The Giants lost Mike Remmers — who started 14 games at right tackle in 2019 — in free agency but have Nick Gates on the roster. Gates, who played at both right tackle and right guard a season ago, played in all 16 games with three starts.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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