FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots announced today a series of transactions. The Patriots signed veteran tight ends Ben Hartsock, Steve Maneri and rookie free agent TE Terrence Miller.
In addition, the Patriots released three rookie free agents: TE RB Stephen Houston, TE Justin Jones and TE Asa Watson.
Hartsock, 34, is a veteran of 10 NFL seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (2004-06), Tennessee Titans (2006-07), Atlanta Falcons (2008), New York Jets (2009-10) and Carolina Panthers (2011-13). The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a third-round draft pick (68th overall) of Indianapolis in the 2004 NFL Draft out of Ohio State. He has played in 131 NFL games with 49 starts and has 31 receptions for 312 yards and one touchdown. Last season, Hartsock played in 13 games with two starts for the Panthers but did not have any receptions.
Maneri, 26, spent the 2010 season on the New England practice squad and went to training camp with the Patriots in 2011. The 6-foot-7, 280-pounder, has also spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs (2011-12) and the Chicago Bears (2013). He spent part of the 2014 offseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Maneri was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Houston Texans out of Temple in 2010 but was released and claimed off waivers by the Patriots prior to the start of the regular season. He has played in 23 NFL games with 10 starts and has registered six receptions for 52 yards. A tight end in college, Houston signed Maneri and converted him to an offensive lineman and began his career with the Patriots as an offensive lineman. Last season, Maneri played in four games with one start for Chicago before being released by the Bears on Oct. 21, 2013.
Miller, 22, was originally signed by the New York Jets as a rookie free agent out of Arizona on May 11, 2014. The 6-foot-4, 234-pounder, was released by the Jets on June 19, 2014. Miller finished his college career at Arizona with 95 receptions for 1,117 yards and three touchdowns.
Houston, 22, originally signed with the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Indiana on May 12, 2014. He finished his college career at Indiana fourth on the school's all-time list with 25 rushing touchdowns, sixth with 29 total touchdowns and ninth with 2,304 rushing yards. The 6-foot, 230-pounder was ninth in school history with nine 100-yard rushing games. Last season, he rushed for 753 yards on 112 attempts for 6.7-yard average and five touchdowns. He spent his first two college seasons at Independence (Kans.) Community College before transferring to Indiana in 2011.
Jones, 22, originally signed with the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of East Carolina on May 12, 2014. He was a three-year starter and finished his career with 52 receptions for 598 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 6-foot-8, 277-pounder was not eligible to play last season. As a junior in 2012, he played in 13 games with five starts and caught 25 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns.
Watson, 24, originally signed with the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of North Carolina State on May 12, 2014. He played in 36 games for North Carolina State and caught 29 passes for 351 yards with one touchdown. The 6-foot-3, 237-pounder is the brother of former Patriots TE Ben Watson.