The Jets on Monday claimed former Patriots offensive tackle Antonio Garcia off waivers.
The Patriots had waived Garcia with a non-football injury, but he has been cleared to play. He had been participating in the Patriots' offseason workout program.
New England drafted Garcia in Round 3 last year, out of Troy. His arrival with the Jets gives them some depth for their offensive line, which they need.
The Jets' starting tackles likely will continue to be Kelvin Beachum on the left side and Brandon Shell on the right side. But Garcia could push Ben Ijalana and/or Brent Qvale for a second-string role during spring practices and training camp.
We can’t ignore that the Patriots did waive him. With that said, this is pretty much a no-risk play with good upside for the Jets. Just as we cannot ignore the fact New England waived Garcia, we also cannot ignore the fact he was a third round pick just a year ago who became available for reasons that have nothing to do with his talent.
It is essentially a free bonus Draft pick for the Jets and a nice use of the team’s priority in the waiver process.
Garcia missed 2017 with reported blood clots in his lungs. He declared himself medically cleared earlier this offseason, but it seems the Patriots disagreed with the diagnosis.
Yet to play in an NFL game, the Jets are hoping the 24-year-old is back to full strength. They are taking a flier on him being able to help an offensive line that struggled last season.
Garcia made 42 starts at left tackle over four years at Troy and didn’t allow a sack in his final college season. The Jets worked out Byron Bell on Monday, so they are looking for offensive line depth on a couple of fronts.