2012 Free Agency: Jonathan Fanene

NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed

Prior to this afternoon, the Patriots had kept all of their free agency transactions in house. That streak broke with the signing of former Cincinnati Bengals DE Jonathan Fanene.

It may not be the splash some Patriots fans were looking for, but it’s a solid signing and a player that should be able to play a versatile role in the hybrid New England defense.

The 29-year-old DE has played a rotational role for the Bengals since being drafted out of Utah in the 7th round in the 2005 draft.

Last season he had 24 total tackles and 6.5 sacks starting two games. He missed most of 2010 with a hamstring injury suffered against the Patriots. In 2009, he started ten games with 36 total tackles and 6 sacks.

Playing 379 snaps, Pro Football Focus had him as the 53rd rated DE last season, though he really starred as a DT late in the season, rating 25th despite playing only 25 snaps.

Fanene does a nice job rushing the quarterback from the inside, but may struggle at times getting that same rush as a 7-tech in a 4-3.

In New England’s defense, I can see him playing three roles: 5-tech in a 3-4, and 3-tech and 7-tech in a four man front. With Mike Wright retired, Myron Pryor a constant injury risk and Gerard Warren’s future uncertain, it was a wise move to improve the rotation along the defensive line.

Fanene signed a three year deal with the Patriots, which included a $3.85 million signing bonus according to Ian Rapoport from the Boston Herald.

Fanene is also an accomplished run defender, rating positively ever year at every position according to Pro Football Focus.

Like I said before, it may not be Mario Williams, but it’s these kinds of value moves that make the Patriots what they are.

16 Responses to “2012 Free Agency: Jonathan Fanene”

  1. JimC says:

    The Pat’s will probably trade #31 for another #2 this year and a #1 in the 2013 draft.

  2. Dan says:

    I like this signing a lot…but, I want some more.

    The spending is just nuts…I don’t see Welker getting this kind of money; I just don’t see BB giving him a massive contract like the ones being passed out like Monopoly money. He’s an amazing player, but I say they keep him on the franchise and that’s it…let him go test the market next year. And, I may be Welker’s biggest fan…was doing flips when they signed him away from Miami.

    • AM says:

      I agree on this signing–looks like a good depth player, could be very productive (though that’s superficial; I honestly don’t know much about him).

      On your other point, letting Welker walk next year (assuming we don’t end up with a Branch-esque holdout and trade this year) only makes sense if Brady has someone else to throw to. I understand the general principle of not wanting to overspend on a high-priced free agent, because it hamstrings the team in other areas of need and for the future. But that assumes two factors: 1) all else being equal, the team will be in roughly the same position next year, albeit perhaps with different areas of need, and 2) the team needs to distribute its available resources across multiple areas now.

      In this case, I don’t think those factors apply. Each year that passes brings Brady closer to the close of his career–he is playing at a special level now, but he has already reached the point where he begins to wilt down the stretch due to the beatings he takes, even with a superior pass-blocking line. In addition, wide receiver is one of few areas the team really needs help at where the free agent market will be of assistance–there is little help at safety or pass rush available on the open market, Mario Williams notwithstanding, and the team needs to spend its money *somewhere*. Why not pay Welker $10 million a year? We know he can play in the system, and that he performs at an unbelievable level. Where else is the free agent money going to go? (Also, the thought of him in Jet green makes me retch.)

      All that being said, if the team could get a couple of depth players, Brandon Lloyd on a short-term deal, and Welker for three years, I would call it a win for free agency, and would leave the rest to the draft. Ultimately, I think that the Patriots don’t need to mortgage their future, but they do need to invest in the present.

  3. Ken W says:

    yah they would never move up that far. I farthest I could see them moving up is the early 20’s to jump over a few teams that they think might take there guy. Im hoping Cox or Still are with in striking range.

  4. HDHorvath says:

    3/14/12 – Here’s a prediction. Pats trade #27 & #48 to Bucs for #5 and take JBlackmon (assumes Cleve #4 takes cornerback from LSU & if not we would take the CB)

    • HDHorvath says:

      Cleve might also opt for Tannehill

    • AM says:

      As good as Blackmon (or Claiborne) would be on this team, I doubt that that is enough ammunition to move up to #5. In a draft that’s very deep for receivers and cornerbacks alike, I think its more likely they stand pat (no pun intended) and look at Mohammed Sanu, Marvin Jones, or Joe Adams in the second round. If they go cornerback, I’d bet on the same strategy, targeting Chase Minnifield, Stephon Gilmore, or Coryell Judie later on. They may even luck into Kendall Wright or Dre Kirkpatrick if one of them takes a freefall.

    • Tanner says:

      No way the pats trade up in the draft bruh. Its not something they do often (although i wish they did)

    • Jim says:

      Looking at any of the standard draft charts that assign points to picks, #27 & #48 would only net them about the 14th pick in the draft. The Pats have to add in the other 1st round pick they have to get up to a point total that would give them the #5 pick in the draft. I can’t picture BB would giving 2 1st rounders, and a 2nd to move up to #5.

      • Jim R says:

        Add up what Washington gave up for # 2 that gives you an Idea of what you would need to do.

    • td says:

      Will never happen, the math is way off:
      #5: 1,700pts

      It would take #27, #31 & #48 to equal #5.
      #27: 680pts

    • Jim R says:

      27 and 31 might get you there. BB might trade out of the first round all together.

  5. dslave says:

    I wouldn’t pretend that I known anything about him. But it sounds like a typicall move that they do. Again nice job on the write up. It will peak my interest.

  6. DWE 2012 says:

    With the uncertainty of Guy’s like Deaderick, Brace, Silvestro, Cox, also signing(S) of Anderson, and Carter; it was obviously a decent move.

    This may also be a sign that the Pat’s feel that even thought they get(and can get better at ), “some” decent pass rush, they know it clearly need’s to get better.
    In addition; this may be a sign that they will go more Safety and Corner in the draft.
    Clearly they need to dump or IMO package guy’s like Deaderick and Brace, they’re just not working out and are back-up’s at best for us who may be better used in another system.
    Fanene seem’s like he can fill that role with what the afformentioned has not…..with consistency.

    I’d still look hard at the best OLB and OT we can get our hand’s on during free agency, and do it quick before Tampa Bay keep’s snagging pieces.

  7. Tom says:

    Nice article Doug. I saw that Fanene was signed by the Patriots, but didn’t know anything about him. It was nice to see your assessment of how he may fit with the Patriots.

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