Garay started 15 of San Diego’s 16 regular season games in 2010 ranking third on the team with 5.5 sacks and led all of San Diego’s defensive linemen with 48 tackles. He appeared in eight games for the Bolts in 2012, starting one, and had one sack in these games which was against the Carolina Panthers.
Nfl.com’s Ian Rapoport said in a report, “Sounds like the Chargers are heading toward releasing veteran DT Antonio Garay, per source. Due $3.5 million in 2013.” Garay’s salary cap hit will be $5 million due to a $1.5 million bonus he will receive if he is on San Diego’s roster for week one of the 2013 NFL season.
San Diego is about $8 million under the salary cap, so the front office needs to make moves to create more cap space. I would not be surprised if Garay is released due to this need.
If Garay is released, Cam Thomas would be the only defensive tackle on San Diego’s roster. The Chargers run defense was much improved last season, as they ranked fifth yards per attempt allowed. Defensive tackles are important to stop the run, so San Diego could go after a veteran in free agency or use a draft pick in April.
Aubrayo Franklin started the most games at DT last season, but he is an unrestricted free agent. San Diego’s front office could re-sign Franklin which would allow them to go after a different position in the draft.
Garay was dependable for San Diego in 2010 and 2011 when he started 28 of San Diego’s 32 regular season games and played in all 32, but his salary may be too high for San Diego’s front office to pay in 2013.