Sports

Patriots strike new deal with Michael Hoomanawanui

Michael Hoomanawanui

Duane Burleson/AP/File

Michael Hoomanawanui

Free agency doesn’t officially start until 4 p.m. Tuesday, but the Patriots made a move Monday morning by agreeing to a two-year contract with tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, a league source confirmed.

Hoomanawanui, 25, is a blocking tight end and special teams contributor who played a larger-than-expected role last year after Aaron Hernandez was cut and Rob Gronkowski missed 11 total games with injury.

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Hoomanawanui, entering his fifth NFL season, played more than 58 percent of snaps in the regular season, catching 12 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown in 13 games.

Terms of the contract were undisclosed, but Hoomanawanui played last year for the minimum $630,000 plus incentives. He spent two years with the Rams before coming to New England for the 2012 season.

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The Patriots can still sign their own free agents — Julian Edelman, Aqib Talib, Brandon Spikes, Ryan Wendell, and others — at any time, and can officially sign free agents from other teams Tuesday afternoon.

The Patriots also released injured receiver T.J. Moe, an undrafted free agent rookie slot receiver out of Missouri last year who missed the entire season after tearing his Achilles’ tendon in an offseason workout in May.

Also released were defensive lineman Cory Grissom, running back Sam McGuffie, and linebacker Taylor Reed.

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