The New England Patriots currently have two healthy tight ends on the roster, and Michael Hoomanawanui is the only one with experience. The Patriots decided to part ways with both Jake Ballard and Daniel Fells yesterday in what was a shocking move, and that left very promising UDFA Zach Sudfeld and blocking TE Michael Hoomanawanui as the only healthy tight ends left on the roster. The releases of Fells and Ballard confirmed that Rob Gronkowski would be staying on the 53-man roster and not hitting the reserve/PUP list, but he won’t be playing until at least Week 3.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the New England Patriots asked Hooman to take a paycut, and the Illinois product has obliged. Looking at the moves the Patriots have made today, it seems like they have been financially concerned. The Pats likely gave Ryan Allen the punting job over Zoltan Mesko due to Allen having a third of Mesko’s salary, and the fact that they also asked their (current) N0. 2 TE to presumably take a significant pay cut is also noteworthy. Fells was likely released due to his relatively high salary, and Rapoport is right on when he says that the Patriots cut of Fells was given “context” with this news.
Let’s give huge credit to Michael Hoomanwanui for taking the paycut, and he has a key role on the Patriots as a No. 3 TE and H-Back. James Develin hasn’t been cut at the time of writing this sentence, so we’ll have to keep an eye on Hooman’s role out of the backfield as well. Hooman is an underrated TE who is one of the best blocking TEs in the NFL, has versatility, and he’s a better pass-catcher than he’s given credit for.