The Saints have acquired tight end Michael Hoomanawanui from the Patriots, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). In return, the Patriots will receive defensive end Akiem Hicks (link).
Hoomanawanui, 27, has spent the last three seasons and change in New England after starting his career with the Rams. The former fifth-round pick played more than 700 snaps in 2013, grabbing 12 balls for 136 yards and a touchdown. According to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required), Hoomanawanui wasn’t an effective run blocker in that season, though he graded as slightly above average as a pass blocker. Last year, the Illinois product played in all 16 games but saw an even smaller role in the passing game, catching only three passes out of six targets.
Hicks was in the Saints locker room on Wednesday, Larry Holder of The Times-Picayune tweets, so it would appear that the deal really gained momentum later in the afternoon. Hicks is set to become a free this offseason and despite a solid showing in training camp, he wasn’t given the opportunity to make an impact on the field this year. The defensive end was a third-round choice in 2012 but was actually the Saints’ top pick in that year thanks to the Bountygate sanctions imposed against them.