Solder, who started every game for the Giants the past two seasons, announced his decision on Twitter on Wednesday, citing his son’s ongoing fight with cancer, the recent birth of a baby boy and his own history with cancer.
Under the agreement reached last week between the NFL and the players’ union, players can choose not to play in 2020 without penalty. The opt-out is irrevocable.
Solder said he made the decision “to pause this season” after much praying. He will earn $350,000 this season as a high-risk opt out. The 32-year-old was scheduled to make $6.5 million under the four-year, $62 million contract he signed in 2018 after leaving the New England Patriots as a free agent. The deal will now run through 2022.
The decision is expected to give the Giants $16.5 million in salary cap space.
“Our family has health concerns, most notably our son’s ongoing battle with cancer, as well as my own bout with cancer," Solder wrote. "We also welcomed a new addition to our family this spring, a baby boy. With fear and trembling, we struggle to keep our priorities in order and, for us, our children’s health and the health of our neighbors comes before football.”
The Giants drafted tackle Andrew Thomas of Georgia with the fourth pick overall in the recent draft. He probably will replace Solder at left tackle. Veteran Cam Fleming, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason, and Nick Gates, who is entering his third season, probably will complete for the right tackle spot.