EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants have started fixing their woeful offensive line.
A person familiar with the negotiations says the team has an agreement with offensive tackle Nate Solder. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Giants did not announced the deal with the former New England Patriots left tackle when free agency kicked off Wednesday.
NFL Network reported the Giants will give Solder a four-year, $62 million deal.
The 29-year-old Solder was considered the top offensive lineman available in free agency. He will be the NFL’s highest-paid offensive lineman.
His signing is a major accomplishment for new general manager Dave Gettleman, who has taken over a team that went 3-13 last season. The O-line was one of the team’s biggest weaknesses. Former general manager Jerry Reese’s failure to address the problem in free agency last year led to his firing in December.
Solder will probably take over at left tackle and 2015 first-round draft pick Ereck Flowers will be moved to the right side.
The Giants announced late Wednesday afternoon the signing of former Carolina Panthers cornerback Teddy Williams, who did not play in 2017 after being waived/injured with a shoulder problem.
The 17th player taken in the 2011 draft, Solder has started 95 career games, and he has been relatively injury free in his career.
The Giants still have work to do on the line. The team was 26th in the league in rushing (96.8 yards), 28th in first downs (271), 30th on third downs (32.6 per cent), 29th in time of possession (28:27), and 31st in points (246).
Part of the problem was injuries. Center Weston Richburg only played four games because of a concussion and the versatile Justin Pugh was in eight at left guard and right tackle because of back problems.
New York used 10 starting line combinations and only had two games in which a runner gained at least 100 yards, both by Orleans Darkwa.
Richburg is expected to sign with San Francisco. Pugh is a free agent. Veteran guard John Jerry, who started all 16 games last season, is under contract. Brett Jones, a restricted free agent who received a second-round qualifying offer, started the final 12 games at centre. Jon Halapio, who started the final six games at right guard, re-signed with the Giants recently.
Williams is the second former Panther Gettleman brought aboard in two days. The former Carolina GM got running back Jonathan Stewart on Tuesday.
Since entering the NFL as a rookie free agent in 2012, Williams has played 36 games for Indianapolis, Arizona, Chicago, Jacksonville and Carolina.