Patterson is the 21st free agent the Giants have signed this month, but he is just the second who's already had his 30th birthday. (He'll turn 31 on Sept. 1.) But he played well for the Giants as part of their defensive tackle rotation in 2013, they like him and they very much needed to add depth at that position. Their best defensive tackle, Linval Joseph, signed with the Vikings. And while they believe 2013 second-round pick Johnathan Hankins is ready to handle a starter's role in 2014 along with veteran Cullen Jenkins, the defensive tackle position requires a deep rotation.
Patterson and Markus Kuhn now project as the backups to Jenkins and Hankins. Jenkins has experience at defensive end, and the Giants also need help there due to the free-agency departure of Justin Tuck. But unless they add someone else of significance at defensive tackle, it's unlikely they'd move Jenkins out of that role in 2014.