The Patriots did tender tight end Michael Hoomanwanui at the minimum level – which gives them the right to match or receive a fifth-round pick in return – for $1.323 million, according to a league source.
It’s a little bit of a surprise that the Patriots tendered him at all, considering his play was average and the team has three better tight ends – Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Jake Ballard.
The Patriots could have released Hoomanwanui and re-signed him at closer to the $630,000 minimum salary. They chose to keep him.
Meanwhile, free agency began at 4 p.m.:
-- Only Patriots-related report is from Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the Patriots are in the lead for WR/KR Joshua Cribbs. I wouldn’t view him as a Wes Welker replacement -- Cribbs has a lot to prove as a receiver -- but he is a good all-around player who can definitely help special teams.
-- Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com reports Cribbs is leaning towards signing with the Cardinals;
-- Welker and the Patriots are going to dance a while — could be a week. Both sides aren’t close on a deal. What the Patriots have offered is not a real offer. Still think he finds a way to return. Both sides know where the other is. All it takes is one call one way or the other and it’s over. Not sure how much of a market is out there for him.
-- Aqib Talib, Sebastian Vollmer, and Julian Edelman have all apparently become free agents, so anything can happen.
-- Browns have reached agreement with Ravens OLB Paul Kruger.
-- WR Mike Wallace looks headed to the Dolphins.
-- WR Greg Jennings was on ESPN, and his market sounded like crickets. Don’t see him as an ideal fit with the Patriots, but maybe they could get in it at some point.
-- Eagles have released CB Nnamdi Asomugha.
-- TE Martellus Bennett is on his way to the Bears.
-- TE Anthony Fasano is headed to the Chiefs and could be signing.
-- Titans have reached agreement with former Bills guard Andy Levitre.
-- Bills released QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, a Harvard grad.
-- Titans are hot after 49ers TE Delanie Walker.
-- S Dashon Goldson is on his way to the Bucs via plane. Looks strong for him to sign there.
-- Former BC OT Gosder Cherilus is headed to the Lions.