Rapoport added Solder agreed to a four-year contract worth $62 million with $35 million guaranteed.
Although the 29-year-old remained a solid pass-blocker in 2017, his moving on isn't altogether surprising. He counted for a little over $10 million annually against the salary cap after signing a two-year, $20.62 million extension with the team in 2015.
Had the Patriots retained Solder, he would've counted for a significant chunk of their roughly $22.4 million in salary cap space this offseason.
If New England was willing to trade Logan Mankins in 2014 after he reached six Pro Bowls in nine seasons, then nobody should be surprised the team deemed Solder expendable.
Solder's departure does, however, create a hole at left tackle, and based on history, the Patriots will look to the draft for a replacement. All five of their regular starting offensive linemen in 2017—Solder, David Andrews, Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason and Cameron Fleming—were Patriots draftees.
Granted, New England may prefer to protect Tom Brady's blind side with a more proven player since there's no telling how much longer Brady will continue playing at such a consistently high level.
Finding that proven replacement will be easier said than done, as there aren't too many viable options for New England in free agency.
In Solder, the Giants signed the best left tackle on the market.
Solder should be a strong presence inside New York's locker room as well. He was the Patriots' nominee for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, and a number of teammates campaigned on social media for him to receive the honor:
In addition to his generally high level of performance, Solder has also been fairly durable in his NFL career. Outside of 2015, when a torn biceps ended his season after four games, he has missed two games in six seasons.
The offensive line was an obvious area of need for the Giants, and Solder's presence should mean an immediate improvement to their pass protection in 2018.
Ereck Flowers has been a disaster at left tackle since the Giants selected him ninth overall in the 2015 draft. New York couldn't go another offseason without finding a replacement for Flowers—be it through free agency or the draft.
By signing Solder, the Giants can check offensive tackle off their list of priorities heading into the draft, which will make it even easier to select Saquon Barkley or one of the top quarterbacks available with the second overall pick.