By: Ian Logue
Yesterday’s agreement with veteran left tackle Matt Light may have solidified the left side of the offensive line in front of Tom Brady heading into this season, but it also slightly changes the face of the negotiations for first round draft choice Nate Solder.
So far rookie Nate Solder and the Patriots remain in a stalemate over his contract. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
So far the rookie first-rounder still isn’t in camp, as his agent is reportedly still in negotiations with the Patriots brass over his contract. It’s somewhat hard to believe the two sides haven’t been able to reach a contract agreement as of yet, especially considering that the new rookie wage scale was put in place to help with this issue. Unfortunately according to published reports, the sticking point appears to be a battle regarding the duration of the guaranteed portion of the deal with this class of picks.
As ProFootballTalk.com points out, all the current holdouts sit between picks 17-24 (Solder was taken 17th overall), with the contracts fluxuating between whether 3 of the 4 years are guaranteed, or all four.
The latter is the problem that most front offices appear to be having the problem with. Interestingly enough, the Colts are reportedly battling with this issue with their own rookie left tackle in Anthony Castonzo. They’re not budging on this, with Colts vice chairman Bill Polian telling the News-Sentinal that if some established veterans aren’t getting guaranteed deals that long, a guy who hasn’t played a down of football shouldn’t get one either.
“Agents are asking for a four-year guarantee, which we will not do,” Polian said. “As I mentioned, we are old school and if we won’t give Joseph Addai, who helped us to two Super Bowls and helped us win two AFC championships, a fully guaranteed contract, we aren’t going to do it for a rookie, any rookie. We love Anthony. We think he’s a great draft choice and we think he would be a great Colt, but it’s time for him to prove that before he gets a fully guaranteed contract.”
We haven’t heard any direct media reports from his agent yet regarding the negotiations, but some feel that Light’s contract may have been done to eliminate any uncertainty at that position, while also creating some leverage to force Solder’s camp to become more flexible. When you also take into consideration the money that Light got paid (2 years, $12 million, with $7 million guaranteed), Solder’s not likely to receive a contract near that number. He’s not catching them in a state of desperation either, because even in the event of an injury they have additional (and quite capable) options at that position.
Needless to say hopefully this stalemate ends and he gets himself into camp. There were no minicamps and OTA’s, and every day he’s not there is one more that is lost for him to start getting himself acclimated with is new football team.