The New England Patriots made another big bye-week splash today, as they shipped tight end Michael Hoomanawanui to the New Orleans Saints.

New England received defensive lineman Akiem Hicks in exchange for Hoomanawanui, according to a NESN report. Hicks is a fourth year player, who was selected by New Orleans in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He joins an already crowded front line of the New England defense.

Hoomanawanui had spent the last four years with the Patriots, after breaking into the league with the St. Louis Rams in 2010.

The move is slightly surprising as the Pats had been running a lot of four tight end sets in the first couple of weeks of the season, and Hoomanawanui was looked at as a top option to fill the void created by fullback James Develin's preseason leg injury.

Hoomanawanui was a healthy scratch from New England's week three game against Jacksonville, however. That could have been a sign of a change in the works.

New ENgland is now left with three tight ends on the active roster; Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler and Michael Williams.

The Patriots also announced four other moves today, as they cut linebacker Dekoda Watson and three practice squad players. The three practice players are Chris Barker, Kenbrell Thompkins and Joe Vellano.