According to multiple reports, the Saints have traded defensive end Akiem Hicks to the New England Patriots in exchange for tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.
The Boston Globe and NFL.com initially reported the trade. The 6-foot-5, 324-pounder has 6.5 sacks since joining the Saints in 2012, and would likely fit as a 3-4 defensive end. The Saints now have three tight ends on the roster, Ben Watson, Josh Hill and Hoomanawanui.
Hoomanawanui, 27, has 40 reception and four touchdowns during his five years in the league.
Hicks has started all three games for the Saints this season.
He played college football at Illinois, and the St. Louis Rams selected him in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
A popular player with the fans known as “The Hooman”, the Patriots deemed him expendable with the rise of young tight end Mike Williams, a converted offensive tackle who was acquired in a trade at the end of training camp.
Hoomanawanui was a healthy scratch Sunday against the Jaguars for the first time in his four-season tenure with the Patriots, as he had fallen to fourth on the tight end depth chart.
Hicks and Hoomanawanui have contracts that expire after the 2015 season. He played in the Patriots wins at Buffalo and vs. Jacksonville and recorded one special teams tackle.