Of the New England Patriots' lengthy list of free agents, none was bigger – both in terms of size and in terms of value – than starting left tackle Nate Solder. The former first-round draft pick established himself as one of the top-ten players at his position since joining the NFL in 2011, which made him a hot commodity on the free agency market; a hot commodity, the Patriots were unable to keep.
When free agency began, Solder signed a record-breaking, four-year, $62 million contract with the New York Giants. Consequently, the Patriots are in now need of a new blindside protector for quarterback Tom Brady after Solder held down the fort for the majority of the last seven seasons. Likewise, the 29-year old and his family will leave the New England area after living here for the last seven years.
Before leaving, however, the Solders shared a last message with the Patriots, their fans, and their supporters. The young family bought a one-page ad in Sunday's Boston Globe:
On page A5 of today’s Globe, a full page ad from Nate Solder and family thanking Patriots Nation. pic.twitter.com/E0jgRFKiNi— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 25, 2018
Thank you! Words cannot adequately express our family's gratitude for everything you have done for us. The cheers on Sundays were amazing and the small gestures of support for me and my family the other six days of the week even better. You did your job – a super one at that.
Most of all, my sincere appreciation goes to Mr. Kraft and his family, Coach Belichick, the coaching staff, my teammates, and every member of the organization for showing me the Patriot Way. Hard Work. Dedication. Team. Success. Seven years and thousands of life lessons later, I know this much: you are all first-class in every Patriot Way.
We will miss you, New England, but we leave here happy with memories, relationships, and friends that will last a lifetime. And two super nice rings too!
Peace and love,
Nate, Lexi, Hudson and Charlie Solder
As the team's starting left tackle, Solder played an integral role in the Patriots winning two Super Bowls over his seven years with the team. And despite his son Hudson, who was born in 2015, battling cancer for most of the past two years, Solder rarely missed game and practice time and was still able to play at a high level – which makes him a perfect example for the Patriot Way he is talking about in the ad.
All the best in New York, Nate!