The Patriots announced that they re-signed free-agent tight end DJ Williams on Monday.
Williams was signed by the Patriots on Nov. 27 and played in New England's win over the Texans before being released on Dec. 4. Bringing him back provides the Patriots with depth at the tight end position after Rob Gronkowski suffered a season-ending knee injury on Sunday against the Browns.
Williams joins a Patriots roster that now features two other tight ends -- Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan. Fullback James Develin has also seen some time performing tight end duties in New England's offense.
Mulligan made an important 15-yard catch in the fourth quarter that helped set up Stephen Gostkowski for a 50-yard field goal, but he has been used almost exclusively as a blocking tight end. Hoomanawanui, who has 10 catches for 114 yards this season, missed his third straight game on Sunday because of a knee injury.
Williams provides depth, but there is no Gronkowski replica available. Duties in the New England offense will have to change across the board to adapt, Tom Brady explained on Monday morning.
"Those roles are going to have to shift, kind of what we did on the last two drives of the game, we had four receivers at points," Brady told WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show. "At different points we had more [tight ends] with Develin and Mulligan on the field.
"We're going to have to make due. Whatever the combinations are if Gronk's not out there, we've got to try to figure those out."