We have a lot of respect for C.J. and we support his decision to retire, coach Bill O’Brien said in a statement released by the team.

I know this was a difficult decision for him. C.J. has been a great teammate and we appreciate his efforts over the past four years. We wish him success in the next phase of his life.

It’s a noticeable step down from the $34 million the Saints gave to Larry Warford on a four-year deal last year, and while Warford’s the better player, it wouldn’t have been stunning to see his deal held up as a baseline for non-star interior linemen hitting free agency in a market bereft of useful players this offseason.

OT Nate Solder, Giants Grade: C+ Unlike most teams, the Patriots are comfortable letting their impending free agents hit the market, trusting that they’ll bring an offer back that the Patriots can come close to matching.

In recent years, both Dont’a Hightower and Devin McCourty were able to solicit offers before coming back to New England.

The solution, then, is for a team to offer so much money that the Patriots simply have to pass.

That appears to be what happened with Solder, who just pushed the left tackle market forward by a significant degree.

Trent Williams held the previous tackle record with an annual average salary of $13.8 million, but after signing a four-year, $62 million deal with $35 million in guarantees, Solder’s kicked the can forward to $15 million per season.

Solder has been an above-average left tackle for the vast majority of his career, with a few blips here and there, and he has stayed relatively healthy outside of the 2015 season.

He was responsible for a career-high nine penalties in 2017, but it’s also fair to note that Solder missed training camp and spent the year helping his son fight cancer, a disease the Colorado product defeated himself before the 2014 campaign.

The Giants would probably admit that they overpaid for Solder, but they needed offensive line help more than anyone else in the league.

Solder will immediately slot in on Eli Manning’s blind side, which allows the Giants to move Ereck Flowers to a position for which he might be more suited, like right tackle or insurance salesman.

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