The New England Patriots probably weren’t too worried about Tuesday’s developments, but the latest news about left tackle Nate Solder might be cause for concern.
It’s looking less and less like the free agent tackle returns to Foxboro, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, citing a source. According to Rapoport, the New York Giants and Houston Texans are seen as the front-runners for the veteran offensive linemen.
Losing Solder — the top free agent lineman on the market — would be a sizable blow for the defending AFC champions. The Patriots could withstand the reported losses of Danny Amendola, Dion Lewis and Malcolm Butler on Tuesday, but watching the man tasked with Tom Brady’s blindside walk away would be a tough pill to swallow. He is the Patriots’ most important free agent.
Retaining Solder seemed even more important given the lack of depth the Patriots have at the position. Cameron Fleming is also a free agent, and given the relatively weak O-line class this offseason, he has the potential for a big payday in free agency. The Patriots might have to turn their attention to LaAdrian Waddle, who’s also a free agent, if Solder leaves.