FOXBORO -- The picture at offensive tackle in New England just got a little less crowded.
According to ESPN's Field Yates, the Patriots are releasing 2017 third-round pick Tony Garcia with a non-football injury designation. The Troy product missed all of last season on the non-football injury list.
Source: the Patriots are releasing 2017 third-round pick Tony Garcia with the non-football injury designation. He was unable to play as a rookie.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 11, 2018
In a draft class that featured only four players, Garcia was one of the headliners. He was the team's second overall choice (behind defensive end Derek Rivers), and he was considered a candidate to eventually replace left tackle Nate Solder.
After participating briefly in training camp last summer, Garcia was pulled from action and eventually taken off the active roster with a reserve/non-football injury designation. Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia indicated that Garcia had lost a significant amount of weight while dealing with "medical issues."
"Yeah. His weight is down," Scarnecchia said at the time. "He's gone through some medical issues, which I will not speak about. But he is working hard. He is starting to gain his weight back. We all realized this was going to be a process for him this year. And it has been a process for him. We're gonna be extremely patient with this guy. We feel like we owe him that. And he's giving us everything he can in return right now. He's working out every day. I think he's starting to trend towards a good direction. We'll see what we've got this spring and going into training camp."
Evidently, whatever the Patriots saw, they felt as though their time with Garcia had run its course.
With Solder now a member of the Giants, Garcia was considered in the mix to get some work at tackle this season. Now, with Garcia out of the mix, the candidates for the left tackle job include rookie first-rounder Isaiah Wynn, Trent Brown, LaAdrian Waddle and, potentially, Cole Croston. Newly-acquired tackle Matt Tobin will factor into the offensive line equation in some regard, and Marcus Cannon, meanwhile, will likely stay on the right side, according to what Scarnecchia indicated in a meeting with reporters on Friday prior the news breaking on Garcia's release.
Garcia had announced on Instagram in March that he had been cleared to play.