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The Patriots were very quiet during the first few hours of free agency, making headlines more for losing cornerback Aqib Talib to Denver than for any moves they made themselves. On Wednesday they made their first official transaction, re-signing free agent tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but an earlier report from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com had it at two years.
The 25-year-old Hoomanawanui spent his first two seasons with the Rams, who took him in the fifth round of the 2010 Draft out of Illinois. He joined the Pats as a free agent prior to the 2012 season and played in 14 games that year. He appeared in 13 games in 2013 and had 12 receptions for 136 yards and one spectacular one-handed touchdown catch in a week 15 loss at Miami.
In his time in New England, Hooman has been almost exclusively a blocking TE, but he has proven himself to be a capable receiver. In his rookie season with St. Louis he had a career-high 13 receptions, 146 yards and three TDs in just eight games. He was no substitute for Rob Gronkowski’s offensive production last year, but he was the Pats’ primary TE for the better part of the season and earned his place on the roster, and there’s no reason to think that his role will change in any significant way in 2014.
On Monday, prior to the start of the free agency period, the Patriots announced the release of four undrafted free agents who did not play a regular-season snap last year. Defensive tackle Cory Grissom, out of South Florida, spent the 2013 season on injured reserve with an ankle injury, while wide receiver T. J. Moe, another UDFA from Missouri, suffered a torn Achilles tendon during OTAs. Running back Sam McGuffie, out of Rice, and linebacker Taylor Reed, from SMU, were signed to the practice squad in December.