When the Vikings overhauled their offensive line last year with Pat Shurmur as offensive coordinator, the Giants’ new head coach said they didn’t just change the oil, they changed the transmission.
Two days into free agency this year, and the Giants’ new configuration up front already is starting to hum.
The Giants spent Thursday finalizing the acquisitions of free agents Nate Solder and Patrick Omameh — from the Patriots and Jaguars, respectively — to the tune of a combined $77 million. By Thursday night, Solder’s contract was signed.
“Every decision that comes out of the GM’s office sends a message,” general manager Dave Gettleman said, “and I think this is a very strong statement.”
The two new faces figure to be lined up next to each other on the left side of the line at the start of next season. The Giants also are pursuing John Sullivan, a veteran center from the Rams (and one the Rams are hoping to keep). If the Giants can land him, Brett Jones, whom they tendered as a restricted free agent, could become a valuable interior swingman or compete for the starting job at right guard.
The Giants have a good shot at getting a starting guard in the draft, whether it be Quentin Nelson near the top of the first round or another player slightly deeper in the draft. At that point, four of the five misfiring pistons from 2017 would be replaced.
The fifth? It would be moved. That likely would be Ereck Flowers, who has been informed by the Giants that he will compete at right tackle after starting at left tackle the last three seasons.
“As soon as we announced the signing of Nate, Pat spoke with Ereck,” Gettleman said. “He called him on the phone to talk to him and said, ‘Listen, we’re going to move you to right, and at the end of the day, the five best offensive linemen play.’ That’s where they left it, and Ereck was fine on the phone.”
Gettleman said Flowers “absolutely” can be a good right tackle.
“He’s a big, strong, powerful kid,’’ he said, “and it’s just a matter of getting used to playing over there.”
Flowers likely will compete with second-year players Chad Wheeler and Adam Bisnowaty.
However that works out, the overhaul appears to be nearly complete. The only thing left to do is take it out for a test run. For that, though, they’ll have to wait until September.
“Hopefully we just have a great group of guys, the personalities, the things that you work together, the guys that you fight for, the guys that you kill yourself for,” Solder said on Thursday. “That’s usually been the O-line. That has been my experience, and I’m looking forward to it here.”
Notes & quotes: One of linebacker Alec Ogletree’s first acts as a Giant was a shout-out on Twitter Wednesday night for free-agent safety Tyrann Mathieu to join him with the Giants. “I think he would have a big impact,” Ogletree said of Mathieu, released by the Cardinals on Wednesday. The Giants are one of the teams interested in him . . . The Giants agreed to terms with versatile defensive back Curtis Riley, a free agent from the Titans. Riley can play corner or safety and is a solid special-teams player . . . The Giants are starting to run out of salary-cap space but have the ability to create more by parting ways with guard John Jerry and wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris. Those moves would free up roughly $10 million.