The Giants have not directly said how they plan to replace Nate Solder on their offensive line, but the latest hint comes in the form of a large contract extension for Nick Gates.
Gates signed a two-year extension on Saturday that could be worth upwards of $10 million. That’s a salary in range with an NFL starter, even though Gates has just three fill-in starts in his brief NFL career.
Now the Giants just have to decide where he will fit in with their continuing plans to rebuild the unit.
One strong possibility is at right tackle with rookie Andrew Thomas on the left side. That would fill the vacancy created when Solder opted out earlier this week due to concerns for his family’s health during the pandemic. They could also flip-flop, which would allow the Giants to put their first-round pick at right tackle for his rookie season as seemed to be their plan when Solder was on the team. Gates also worked this summer in preparation to compete for the starting center position, a battle that figured to include him, veteran Spencer Pulley and rookie Shane Lemieux.
Gates spent all of 2018 on injured reserve after making the team as an undrafted rookie. Last year he played in all 16 games and started three of them: at right tackle against the Jets on Nov. 10 and the Eagles on Dec. 29, and at right guard against the Dolphins on Dec. 15.
Gates will make a base salary of $675,000 this season and was due to become a restricted free agent after 2020. The extension will now have Gates under contract with the Giants through the 2022 season.
“Nick is smart,” general manager Dave Gettleman said of Gates in the spring. “The thing you love about Nick is just how tough he is . . . History tells you that the toughness of your team is really, really indicated by the toughness of your offensive line. We’re always looking for that kind of piece.”
Notes & quotes: The Giants made the signing of K Chandler Cantazaro official on Saturday. The veteran who retired from the Jets last season replaces Aldrick Rosas who was waived by the team last week following misdemeanor charges in a hit-and-run incident in California earlier this summer.