FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots announced that they have re-signed DL Justus Tavai. Tavai was signed by New England as a rookie free agent out of San Diego State on May 19, 2023 and released on June 2. The Patriots also announced that they have signed 2023 third-round draft pick LB Marte Mapu (pronounced – mar-TAY mah-PU). Terms of the contract were not announced.
In addition, the Patriots released DB Tae Hayes and RB James Robinson.
Tavai, 24, finished his college career in 2022 at San Diego State after four seasons at Hawaii (2018-21) and one at El Camino College (2017). The 6-foot-3, 290-pounder played in 12 games and finished with 38 tackles, 3 ½ sacks and was named the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year last season at San Diego State. Tavai played in 25 games with 19 starts during his time in Hawaii and finished with 72 total tackles with four sacks.
Mapu, 23, was selected by the Patriots in the third-round of the 2023 NFL Draft with the 76th overall pick out of Sacramento State. The 6-foot-3, 216-pounder played in 41 games during his four collegiate seasons and finished with 165 total tackles, seven interceptions, 15 passes defensed and one forced fumble. Last season, he was named the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year after finishing with 76 total tackles and two interceptions.
Hayes, 25, was signed by New England to the 53-man roster from the practice squad on Dec. 31, 2022 after originally being signed to the practice squad on Dec. 27. He was released by the Patriots on Feb. 15, 2023 and re-signed on May 9, 2023. The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder played in the final two games of the year for New England last year and had 3 total tackles. Hayes spent time with Carolina in 2022 on the practice squad and the 53-man roster and played in five games, finishing with 3 total tackles. He has spent time in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019-20), Minnesota Vikings (2020), Arizona Cardinals (2021) and Carolina Panthers (2021-22) after originally entering the NFL as a rookie free agent out of Appalachian State with Jacksonville in 2019. Overall, he has played in 13 NFL games and has registered 13 total tackles and two passes defensed. Hayes also played for the USFL's Birmingham Stallions last spring after joining the team as a ninth-round draft pick. He had 33 total tackles and one interception with the Stallions.
Robinson, 24, is a veteran of three NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2020-22) and the New York Jets (2022). He was signed by New England as a free agent on March 17, 2023. The 5-foot-9, 219-pounder originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Jacksonville on April 27, 2020 out of Illinois State. He was traded from Jacksonville to the N.Y. Jets on Oct. 25, 2022 for a 2023 conditional draft pick. Overall, he has played in 39 regular season games with 32 starts and has 2,262 rushing yards on 514 attempts with 18 touchdowns and 91 receptions for 617 yards with five touchdowns. Last season, he played in 11 games with five starts overall and accumulated 425 rushing yards on 110 carries with three touchdowns and 11 receptions for 51 yards with two touchdowns.