CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25: Michael Johnson # 93 and Jonathan Fanene #68 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrate a sack during the game against the San Francisco 49ers on September 25, 2011 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 49ers defeated the Bengals 13-8. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
UPDATE: Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald is reporting that Fanene will receive a signing bonus of $3.85 million. That's a pretty big number, and it gives some type of indication about how much the Patriots value him. He's going to be an important contributor on the defensive line.
After nearly 24 hours of not making a major move, the Patriots have reportedly added a piece that should be a big addition to the team's front seven. Aaron Wilson of Scout.com is reporting that the Patriots have agreed to terms on a three year deal with former Bengals defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene.
Fanene, 29, comes to the Patriots after playing his first seven years of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals after being selected in the seventh round in the 2005 NFL Draft out of Utah.
Standing at 6'4" and 292 lbs, Fanene has the versatility the Patriots like in their defensive linemen. During his time with the Bengals, Fanene lined up at all four defensive line spots (left end, right end, left defensive tackle, right defensive tackle). He hasn't always been a full-time starter for the Bengals, but he has been an important contributor on their defensive line for more than half a decade. In 2011, Fanene made 24 tackles and 6.5 sacks in sixteen games played (two starts).
With the Patriots, I see Fanene taking on Mike Wright's old role: being a versatile defensive lineman who can be asked to play any position. If the Patriots would like him to, he could probably start at right end in the team's 3-4 base defense. However, Fanene should also be a strong contributor in sub-packages as a pass rusher, where he should be able to line up at nearly any spot.
Overall, this is a solid signing by the Patriots that should add to the team's depth and versatility along the front seven. The Patriots have some more moves they need to make, but getting Fanene into the fold is definitely a solid start to the offseason.