The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Gardner joins a Patriots team that already has successfully converted one quarterback into a wide receiver: Julian Edelman.
Edelman, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2009 draft, played quarterback atKent State. While Edelman has since emerged as Tom Brady's go-to receiver, he also threw his first NFL pass in this past season's playoffs, tossing a 51-yard touchdownpass to Danny Amendola in the Patriots' AFC divisional round win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Gardner, coincidentally, shares the same agent as Edelman -- Don Yee. His conversion will be slightly different than Edelman's because he began his 2012 season at Michigan as a receiver before switching to quarterback.
In all, he was a four-year letterman at Michigan, appearing in 49 games. Of those games, he had 27 starts at quarterback and four at receiver. At quarterback, he set school records for passing yards in a game (503) and total yards in a game (584) -- both versus Indiana on Oct. 19, 2013. He ranks sixth on Michigan's career passing touchdown list (44); fourth on the school's career passing yards list (6,336); fourth in total offense (7,252) and fourth in total completions (475).
Gardner is not the first Wolverines quarterback to change position upon entering the NFL, as his predecessor, Denard Robinson, has been a wide receiver and most recently a running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars plan to use Robinson as a kick returner as well this season.
ESPN.com Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco contributed to this report.