Teams have until May 3 to exercise fifth-year options on contracts given to first-round picks in 2011 and many teams have already gone ahead and locked up productive players well ahead of the deadline.

You can add the Patriots to that list. Jason LaCanfora of CBSSports.com reports that the Patriots have decided to exercise the option on tackle Nate Solder’s contract.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise after Solder started 44 of the 47 regular season games he’s played for New England over his first three NFL seasons. Solder gives the team a strong player on Tom Brady’s blind side at a reasonable $7.438 million in salary that is only guaranteed for injury while also buying time to work out a longer deal.