The move can be reversed if Light announces his intention to play again, but the move means that he is now officially considered retired by the NFL.
The move opens up a spot on the 90-man roster and frees up around $5 million in cap room for the Patriots. They could now shift their draft focus to add depth at offensive tackle. Nate Solder, who held up well as a rookie in 2011, is the logical choice to replace Light with Sebastian Vollmer remaining the starter on the right side.
The news itself isn't surprising, as sources reported this possibility last week and Greg shared it here on the Pulpit, but the timing is. Matt Light has yet to directly make known his intentions and it has been speculated that Bill Belichick was holding off on any announcement until after the draft. Of course by now most teams' draft boards are probably set, so this news wouldn't affect the Patriots one way or the other on Draft day.