The Patriots are bringing back a semi-familiar face. In the 2006 NFL Draft, the Patriots took tight end Garrett Mills in the 4th round. Mills had set the NCAAF receiving record for tight ends as a senior with 1235 yards. After spending his rookie season on the IR, the Patriots tried to sneak Mills onto their practice squad, but the Minnesota Vikings poached him before he could make it. Mills has since spent time with the Vikings, Eagles, and the Bengals, notching 9 receptions for 110 yards.
Mills is a player of similar style to Aaron Hernandez as he is more of a receiver than a traditional tight end. Standing at 6-1, 235 lbs, Mills is a heavy receiver, yet he still ran a quick-enough 4.64s 40 yard dash at the combine. The Patriots aren't starved for tight ends on the roster with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez as locks, and with draftee Lee Smith and undrafted free agent Will Yeatman fighting for spots.
While Smith and Yeatman are blocking tight ends in the mold of Gronkowski, Mills looks to be more of a Hernandez. Look for Mills to play with the second and third offenses as Belichick will want to test certain plays later in preseason games without risking Hernandez's health.
Mills showed a lot of promise coming out of college and was known for his phenomenal receiving ability and his surprisingly-good blocking. While he has a slim chance of making the roster, look for Mills to help out the team for the rest of the preseason.
In other news, the Patriots have parted ways with safety Bret Lockett and tackle/guard Zach Roth. Lockett was removed from the game against Tampa due to a groin injury and Roth was injured during his first practice. Both were long shots to make the roster, so look for the Patriots to pick up some additional camp bodies. Lockett was apparently waived with an "injured" designation, which means he has a chance of making to the Patriots' IR.
I don't believe that any of these three moves will have a lasting impact on the final roster. Just look for Mills to allow the 2nd and 3rd string offenses to run the same plays the first team offense would run with Hernandez.