Former Bengals defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene agreed to terms with the New England Patriots on a three-year contract worth close to $12 million, according to a source. The deal included a $3.85 million signing bonus, the source said.
Fanene, who will turn 30 next week, is a Utah product and a native of American Samoa. Drafted in the seventh round in 2005 by Cincinnati, Fanene has played in 71 games in seven seasons with the Bengals, making 17 starts.
At 6-foot-4 and 292 pounds, Fanene has some position versatility, playing both at end and tackle in the Bengals' 4-3 defense. He recorded a career-high 6.5 sacks last season, playing in all 16 games (two starts). Making 10 starts in 2009, he posted a career-high 36 tackles and six sacks.
With some thin spots along the Patriots' defensive line, Fanene was a player to monitor heading into free agency. In New England, he projects to have a role as an interior pass rusher, but he could also compete with Super Bowl XLVI starter Brandon Deaderick for playing time at defensive end on early downs.