The Saints agreed to bring back Hoomanawanui on a three-year contract, according to a league source, before he was set to become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday. FOX Sports first reported the deal. Terms were not disclosed.
The Saints went into this week without any of their top three tight ends from last year under contract -- though there is still a good chance they will bring back unrestricted free agent Benjamin Watson and restricted free agent Josh Hill, as well.
I’m also curious to see if the Saints consider any upgrades on the open market, since there are some intriguing mid-level options like the San Diego Chargers’ Ladarius Green, the Chicago Bears’ Zach Miller and the Indianapolis Colts’ Coby Fleener, among others.
Hoomanawanui, 27, arrived in New Orleans in late September in a surprise move, when they traded defensive lineman Akiem Hicks to New England.
The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder became an asset because of his versatility as a blocker and pass catcher -- and because he allowed the Saints to feature more three-tight end sets that opened up their passing offense.
Hoomanawanui caught 11 passes for 76 yards and three touchdowns, which matched a career high. He also moonlighted at times as a fullback.