It feels like only ten days ago the Boston Herald was guessing Nate Solder could get deals up to $12 million per year, a pretty reasonable number for one of the league’s better but unspectacular tackles. Considering the Falcons also have one of the league’s better but unspectacular tackles, we have been watching Solder’s market.
The New York Giants ruined everything.
The #Giants are signing LT Nate Solder to a 4-year deal worth $62M, source said, with $35M guaranteed. The highest paid OL in the NFL.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2018
That’s $15.5 million per year for a tackle about to turn 30 and what seems to be unending back issues he has played through. In the same way the deals for Alex Smith and Kirk Cousins have likely pushed Matt Ryan’s next deal to the $30 million per year range, this deal bumps up the price to keep Atlanta’s left tackle.
This is a sizable jump over deals signed by Trent Williams, Russell Okung, and Terron Armstread, all coming in between $13 and $13.6 million per year average. If a terrible tackle like Matt Kalil can average just over $11 million per year, a good but unspectacular tackle like Matthews is definitely in line for a mega deal.
Matthews has been solid, has rarely been injured, is entering his prime, and still offers some upside. His agent will likely use the Solder deal as a starting point for a new deal, and it is entirely possible Jake gets something above these numbers. Atlanta has limited options here. They can create a huge problem along the offensive line, overpay for a bad free agent tackle, attempt drafting a pro-ready tackle, or most likely, just pay the man.
Atlanta’s cap situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.