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)
Well, that was certainly unexpected.
Jonathan Fanene, 30, was thought to be an immediate contributer to a defensive line the Patriots spent precious resources bolstering during the offseason, offering both rotational depth with the likes of Kyle Love and Vince Wilfork and a disruptive interior presence. While appearing in all 16 games with the Cincinnati Bengals last season, Fanene was hampered by a knee injury during the Patriots' training camp, causing him to miss the team's last 13 practices. According to a source, Fanene may even need artroscopic surgery later in the week.
The New England Patriots released defensive end Jonathan Fanene on Tuesday. Fanene, 30, was one of the Patriots' most expensive offseason additions in free agency, with the team signing him to a three-year, $9.85 million contract. He received a $3.85 million signing bonus. The former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end has had some problems with an injured knee.
Very unfortunate news for both Fanene and the Patriots' front office, who seemingly didn't want to wait this particular recovery out or fear the damage may be worse and more impactful than it initially seemed. The once-deep interior of the defensive line has certainly taken a hit, and it looks like either Jermaine Cunningham or Ron Brace will now be expected to step up and contribute in a very big way.