By Ryan Dunleavy | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
The NFL’s legal tampering period turned the official start of free agency into the equivalent of an anticlimactic National Signing Day in college football.
By 4 p.m. Wednesday when unrestricted free agents can officially sign with new teams, the first wave of big names will be an afterthought. A slew of deals were agreed to Tuesday, after Monday’s start of the “negotiating” period.
Think of it like a verbal commitment in college football, only much more binding. You won’t see many (if any) decommits here. The millions of dollars helps.
Here is the latest Giants-related news, rumors and updates circulating the NFL.
The latest on Giants’ salary cap space
NFL: Super Bowl LII-Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots
Winslow Townson | USA DAY Sports
If you thought the Giants would just take the millions they were willing to throw at All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell and re-purpose it to Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder, you were right.
Solder, 29, will sign with the Giants as the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported a four-year deal worth $62 million, with $35 million guaranteed. The previous high-water mark at the position was $13 million.
Reports initially linked the Browns, Broncos and Texans as the main pursuers of Solder, who was the only proven starting offensive tackle on the market. The Giants increased their push, especially after losing All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell to the Jaguars.
The Giants outbid the Texans and Patriots. It was thought New England might swoop in and keep Solder at the last second after he established market value. They did that with Devin McCourty and others in the past.
The Giants could move Ereck Flowers to right tackle in a potential win-win.
Super Bowl LII – Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots
Andy Lyons | Getty Images
No homecoming for Dion Lewis
Players always say, “I just need an opportunity.” Well, Patriots running back Dion Lewis finally got his in 2017.
Lewis is coming off a career year with the Patriots, rushing for 896 yards on 180 carries with six touchdowns. He more than doubled his career totals in carries and rushing yards from his first four seasons with the Eagles and Patriots combined.
Before he agreed to a four-year, $20 million deal with the Titans to replace Demarco Murray, Pro Football Talk reported the Giants had interest in Lewis, who played high school football at Blair Academy in West Jersey before starring at Pittsburgh.
The Giants went in another direction before Lewis came off the market, however.
Jonathan Stewart contract details
The Giants hosted veteran running back Jonathan Stewart on a free agent visit and didn’t let him leave the building without signing a reported two-year deal worth up to $8.2 million when factoring in incentives. Of that, $2.95 million is guaranteed, says NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Stewart played under Giants general manager Dave Gettleman and offensive coordinator Mike Shula in Carolina. He is the all-time leading rusher in Panthers’ history, but he never has been much of a pass-catching threat (two of 10 seasons with more than 18 catches), and is 31 years old and coming off the worst yards-per-carry average of his career.
It doesn’t seem like a great fit because coach Pat Shurmur’s offense works best with a receiving option in the backfield. The Giants have four young running backs on their extended offseason roster, including recent draft picks Paul Perkins and Wayne Gallman.