Tom Brady will have someone new protecting his blind side in Week 6, according to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe, who reports (via Twitter) that Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder will be sidelined for the remainder of the season due to a torn right biceps. Solder will undergo surgery in the near future.
Solder, 27, was selected 17th overall by the Patriots in the 2011 draft, and after a year at right tackle, he has spent the rest of his NFL career on the left side of New England’s offensive line. According to Pro Football Focus, Solder wasn’t quite as effective last year as a pass blocker as he has been in years past, and he graded as about a middle-of-the-pack offensive tackle. However, PFF ranked him among the league’s top 20 tackles in 2012 and among the top 10 in 2013, so his injury will create a significant hole for the Pats.
Solder would have been eligible for free agency at the end of the 2015 season, but signed a two-year extension last month, just before the 2015 season got underway. Limited to just four games this season, Solder won’t be able to earn his annual Pro Bowl incentive, but his salary for 2016 is fully guaranteed, so his roster spot in New England is safe going forward.
In Solder’s absence, Marcus Cannon looks like the next man up on the Patriots’ offensive line, though we’ll see how the team arranges its unit this week and beyond. Placing Solder on injured reserve will also open up a spot on the roster, presumably to add a little more depth on the offensive line.