METAIRIE, La. (AP) The New Orleans Saints have traded defensive tackle Akiem Hicks to the New England Patriots for tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.

Hicks' agent, Frank Murtha, has confirmed the trade.

Hicks, a third-round draft choice by New Orleans in 2012, has been a starter since 2013 and was at Saints practice Wednesday. Recently, however, Saints coach Sean Payton has trimmed Hicks' playing time, saying production on the interior defensive line improved by rotating in other players. Payton also has said this week that he's concerned about New Orleans' depth at tight end.

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Hoomanawanui started 12 games for New England last season, making three catches. He's played in two games as a reserve this season without a catch.

The Boston Globe and NFL.com initially reported the trade.

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