Pats pick up Nate Solder's option

The New England Patriots have exercised the fifth-year option on left tackle Nate Solder's contract, a league source confirmed.

CBSSports.com had earlier reported the news.

As part of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, first-round picks have team options for the fifth year in their rookie contracts. Solder was a first-round pick that season and the team had to make a decision by May 3 on whether or not to exercise the option.

From a salary perspective, players drafted in the top 10 are entitled to the value of the transition tag for players at their position, while players drafted between 11-32 are paid the average of the top 25 players at the their position, minus the top three. The NFL does not distinguish between tackle, guard and center, so Solder's pay is reflective of all offensive linemen.

The current projection for his pay is $7.438 million.

The towering 26-year-old has emerged as one of the elite linemen in the league, providing dependable blindside protection to Tom Brady and easing the transition from longtime left tackle Matt Light, who retired following the 2012 season.

Exercising the option does not preclude the Patriots from initiating long-term extension talks with Solder, and the 2015 salary is currently guaranteed for injury only. It will become fully guaranteed on the first day of the 2015 league year.

Many teams have recently decided to exercise fifth-year options on players drafted that season, including the Cincinnati Bengals on receiver A.J. Green, the Arizona Cardinals on cornerback Patrick Peterson and the New Orleans Saints on defensive end Cameron Jordan.