The New England Patriots have made a pair of roster moves on Thursday morning. As first reported by Jim McBride of the Boston Globe, the team has released fullback Danny Vitale and signed tight end Troy Fumagalli.
Fumagalli, 26, originally entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick by the Denver Broncos in 2018. After spending his rookie campaign on injured reserve, he went on to appear in 19 combined games for the club over the next two years and caught 14 passes for 118 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Wisconsin product, who also spent a short time on the Houston Texans’ practice squad last year, will be the sixth tight end on New England’s roster: Fumagalli, who measures as 6-foot-5 and 248 pounds, will join free agency acquisitions Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, veteran Matt LaCosse, and former Day 2 draft picks Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene.
As for Vitale, he had arrived in New England last spring via a one-year free agent pact.
The former sixth-round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who also has stints with the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers on his career résumé, was expected to compete with Jakob Johnson for the fullback position that was vacated by James Develin’s retirement. However, Vitale instead decided to opt out of the 2020 NFL season over concerns about the Coronavirus pandemic.
While the 27-year-old was projected to get another shot at earning a roster spot this summer, the team apparently had different plans. As a result, Johnson now remains as the lone true fullback on the Patriots’ roster.
With him playing under a roster exemption due to his International status, New England still has 91 players under contract heading into its third organized team activity practice on Thursday.