Patriots release TE Nate Byham

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tight end Nate Byham, who signed a one-year contract with the New England Patriots on Sunday, has been released after just six days with the club.

The 6-foot-4, 264-pound Byham, a five-year veteran who previously played for the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, participated in the Patriots' first two practices of training camp. Known more for his blocking, he was vying for a backup role behind Rob Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui.

Byham's release should give more repetitions to five-year veteran D.J. Williams and undrafted rookies Justin Jones and Asa Watson. Fullback James Develin is also part of the depth consideration at the position.

Of the group, Williams (6-2, 245) is the leading candidate to seize a potential No. 3 spot on the depth chart. He played in two games for the Patriots last season and is more of a "move" tight end than an on-the-line blocker. The 2010 Mackey Award winner as the best tight end in college football, the Arkansas alum hasn't emerged in the NFL after time with Green Bay and Jacksonville but now has a nice opportunity with the Patriots.

The Patriots now have 89 players on their 90-man roster.