The Patriots have reportedly made their second trade of the week to add depth to the team's defensive front, this time shipping veteran tight end Michael Hoomanawanui to the Saints in exchange for veteran defensive tackle Akiem Hicks.
Hicks is fourth-year former third-round pick out of Regina who's started 33 of the 48 games he's played in New Orleans, including each of the first three games this season. The 6-5, 324-pounder had just two tackles in his three games this season, seeing his role on the defense shrink despite supposedly high hopes coming into the new season. His best year came in 2013 when he had 56 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
Hoomanawanui's role in New England had also shrunk this season as he fell to No. 4 on the Patriots tight end depth chart behind Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler and Michael Williams. Chandler is a more proven pass catcher than the man they call Hooman, while Williams has the size and abilty to play tackle as a blocker. Hoomanawanui was actually a healthy scratch for last Sunday's win over Jacksonville.
The deal also marks yet another example of Bill Belichick swinging a trade for or adding a player he saw in joint practice action, after the Patriots and Saints got together in West Virginia for training camp work in early August.
Hicks joins a Patriots defensive line that's in the early stages of life without Vince Wilfork. He joins a mix of talent that includes veterans Alan Branch and Sealver Siliga as well as young players Dominique Easley and first-round rookie Malcom Brown.
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