Casey Walker’s departure and Dominique Easley season-ending knee injury left the New England Patriots short two defensive tackles and two roster spots.
But on Wednesday afternoon, those two spots were filled as the Patriots announced the signings of tight end Steve Maneri to the 53-man roster and quarterback Garrett Gilbert to the practice squad.
For the 26-year-old Maneri, it marks his third stint in New England, with his first coming as an undrafted rookie offensive tackle out of Temple in 2010, and his second coming as a fifth-year tight end in training camp this summer. The former 6-foot-7, 300-pound Owl spent his first NFL season on the Patriots’ practice squad. Maneri has since moved down to 280 pounds on the way to stops with the Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has caught six passes for 52 yards over 23 regular-season games.
For the 23-year-old Gilbert, it marks his first first stint with the Patriots. The 2008 Gatorade Football Player of the Year, Gilbert went on to play at the University of Texas before transferring to Southern Methodist for the 2012 season. And two years later, the 6-foot-4, 221-pound quarterback found himself selected by the St. Louis Rams in the sixth round of last May’s NFL draft. Gilbert was waived during the August’s final cuts before re-signing with St. Louis on the practice squad. The rookie was released by the team on Oct. 31.
Maneri is expected to serve as New England’s fourth tight end and as a short-yardage blocker behind Rob Gronkowski, Tim Wright and Michael Hoomanawanui. And with Gilbert’s arrival, the Patriots now have a second rookie quarterback in the fold behind Tom Brady and second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo.
The team had reportedly expressed interest in since-promoted Bears quarterback David Fales last week.