Mar 162018
 
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Kareem Martin, Arizona Cardinals (December 10, 2017)

Kareem Martin – © USA TODAY Sports

NATE SOLDER SIGNING OFFICIAL…
The New York Giants officially announced the signing of unrestricted free agent left tackle Nate Solder (New England Patriots) on Thursday. The contract is reported to be a 4-year, $62 million deal that includes $35 million in guaranteed money. The 29-year old, 6’8”, 325-pound Solder was drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Patriots. In seven seasons, Solder has started 95 of the 98 regular-season games he has played in, including 81 games at left tackle.

“Nate has been a quality left tackle in this league since the day he entered,” General Manager Dave Gettleman said. “He’s physically matured and he’s become as good a run blocker as he is a pass blocker. We’re just very, very pleased that he wanted to come here. He’s genuinely excited about it, which is important to me, obviously. Every decision that comes out of the GM’s office sends a message and I think this is a very strong statement.

“The biggest thing about winning as a player is understanding what it takes to win, and the understanding that the guys on the other side of the field are getting paid to play, too. That is one thing that Nate definitely understands. The Patriots have a very demanding culture up there, which we’re going to have as well. So it won’t be any surprise to Nate. At the end of the day, he certainly can show people what is required, the preparation and the work to win.”

The inconsistent and oft-criticized Ereck Flowers, who has started the bulk of the games at left tackle for the Giants during the last three seasons, will now be moved to the right side of the line.

“As soon as we announced the signing of Nate, (Head Coach) Pat (Shurmur) spoke with Ereck,” Gettleman said. “He called him on the phone to talk to him and said, ‘Listen, we’re going to move you to right, and at the end of the day, the five best offensive linemen play.’ That’s where they left it, and Ereck was fine on the phone… He’s a big, strong powerful kid and it’s just a matter of getting used to playing over there.”

KAREEM MARTIN SIGNING OFFICIAL…
The New York Giants officially announced the signing of unrestricted free agent linebacker/defensive end Kareem Martin (Arizona Cardinals) on Thursday. The contract is reported to be a 3-year, $15 million deal that includes $7.25 million in guaranteed money. The 26-year old, 6’6”, 272-pound Martin was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Cardinals as a defensive end. The Cardinals moved him to linebacker after his rookie season. Martin had his best season in 2017, playing in all 16 regular-season games with 10 starts and finished the year with 24 tackles, one sack, three pass defenses, one interception, and one forced fumble. Martin played under new Giants’ defensive coordinator James Bettcher in Arizona.

“I’m really excited,” Martin said. “My agent called me the other day and told me that New York had extended an offer. With Bettch being the defensive coordinator, that played a big role in my decision. After playing in that defense for the last four years, three with him being the (defensive coordinator), I learned a lot and I was able to grow a lot. I wanted to continue that maturation in this defense under him, so that played a big role in my decision to come here.

“(Bettcher) is an attacking coordinator. He likes to blitz a lot, which is always helpful for guys like me. I like the versatility of the system. I’ve played a little bit of everywhere. I’ve played outside standup, I’ve played a little bit of inside pass rushing. Being able to be all over the field, it’s not a one-time thing, so it doesn’t get boring. It’s a fun and exciting defense, especially for the position that I play.

“(The Giants are) getting a guy who is going to come in here and work hard every day. He’s going to know his job, he’s going to be accountable. That’s a big thing in this defense and in this league in general, being accountable and getting the trust of your teammates, knowing that I’m going to get the job done. When my number is called, to blitz, to drop, to do whatever I’m going to get it done.”

“When you get into free agency, in the ideal world you want a guy who is healthy and young,” General Manager Dave Gettleman said. “Kareem is a 26-year-old guy that has some pass rush to him, has movement skills, has good instincts and just seems to be getting better and better all the time. He started as a part-time rotational guy and he built himself up to a point where he had 10 starts last year with Arizona. Obviously the familiarity with the system will be huge for him and I’m just very excited. Watching him on film, I think he’s got the ability to continue to improve. He’s 6-4, he’s 260, he runs a 4.75 and Bettch had him covering tight ends down the field; he’s running down the seam with these guys. We’re excited to have him.

“(Adding players who know the system) always helps. Kareem can share information. He’ll be playing with O.V. (Olivier Vernon) and JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) and obviously his familiarity and comfortability with the system will help him share knowledge and share the tips and things that he has learned. Same thing with (running back) Jonathan Stewart. The protections will be the same, the protections that (Offensive Coordinator) Mike (Shula) and (Head Coach) Pat (Shurmur) are going to install will be the same. He can help share his knowledge from Carolina, so he will be able to help those guys as well. The short answer is yes, it’s a big help.”

PAT O’DONNELL RE-SIGNS WITH BEARS…
The Chicago Bears have re-signed unrestricted free agent punter Pat O’Donnell. The Giants were reportedly interested in O’Donnell. The 27-year old, 6’4”, 217-pound O’Donnell was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Bears. In four seasons with the Bears, he has averaged 44.9 yards per punt (39.2 yard net). Last year, he averaged 47 yards per punt (39.7 yard net).

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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