By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots have released tackle Tony Garcia with a non-football injury designation, according to ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter.
Garcia never saw the field in his season-plus with the Patriots. He was placed on the NFI list before the start of his rookie season in 2017, which Jeff Howe reported in March was due to blood clots in his lungs. The now-free-agent tackle announced later that month doctors had officially cleared him to play.
The Patriots drafted Tony Garcia with their second pick of the 2017 draft, selecting him 85th overall in the third round. Defensive end Deatrich Wise was the only 2017 draft pick to play for the Patriots as a rookie. Edge rusher Derek Rivers tore his ACL before the season and tackle Connor McDermott didn’t make the team.
As a result of his release, Garcia will only count for $589,614 against the cap in 2018. His number was at $778,538 had he stayed on the roster. He won’t count against the cap in 2019 or 2020, which were going to be the final two years of his rookie deal, as noted by the Boston Sports Journal’s Miguel Benzan a.k.a. @PatsCap on Twitter.
The NFI designation grants the Patriots the option not to pay Garcia on his remaining contract, due to his injury occurring outside of football. But it’s also possible (perhaps likely) that they will work out some kind of deal, essentially a “severance package” with him.
After moving on from the former Troy tackle and losing Nate Solder and Cameron Fleming via free agency, the Patriots’ starting left tackle spot appears to be boiling down to a competition between 2018 first-round pick Isaiah Wynn and trade addition Trent Brown. They also have Marcus Cannon and LaAdrian Waddle under contract for 2018, in addition to depth linemen such as Cole Croston, Andrew Jelks, Matt Tobin, and Luke Bowanko.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.