As they get set to kick off the second full week of the NFL preseason, the New England Patriots are still looking to find quality depth at the tight end position. On Sunday, they made a flurry of moves in an attempt to address that need.
The Patriots have waived tight ends Justin Jones and Asa Watson and running back Stephen Houston, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates on Sunday. Yates reports that the team has signed three tight ends in their place — Ben Hartsock, Steve Maneri and Terrence Miller.
The Patriots confirmed the roster moves Sunday afternoon.
Jones and Watson, both undrafted free agents, had an opportunity to shine during Thursday’s preseason game against the Washington Redskins, as they were the only two tight ends on the depth chart with Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui and D.J. Williams all sidelined due to injury.
Neither Jones nor Watson recorded a catch, however, and the team moved on Sunday by replacing them with a trio of new tight ends. Hartsock is a 10-year veteran with 31 career receptions who appeared in 13 games but did not record a catch for the Carolina Panthers last season.
Maneri made his NFL debut with the Patriots in 2010 but was waived after being inactive for the first three games of the season. The 6-foot-7, 280 pound tight end was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in May. Miller, a 6-foot-4, 234 pound undrafted rookie out of Arizona, was released by the New York Jets on June 19.
Stephen Houston rushed for just seven yards on three attempts in Thursday’s 23-6 loss to the Redskins and leaves a crowded New England backfield that includes eight running backs.
The Patriots will host joint practices with the Philadelphia Eagles this week ahead of Friday night’s preseason matchup at Gillette Stadium.