Jonathan Fanene was supposed to provide some depth at defensive tackle for the Patriots. But even after signing the 30-year-old lineman to a three-year, $12
million deal back in March, it looks like Fanene is headed back to the unemployment line.
The Patriots released Fanene on Tuesday afternoon along with a pair of other training camp invitees.
Fanene, who had been sidelined by a knee injury for the past two weeks, was likely seen as unreliable and expendable following yet another impressive defensive performance by his teammates in the Patriots’ second preseason game.
While Fanene clearly wasn’t working out in New England, the Patriots still paid the seven-year veteran $3.95 million — his $3.85 million signing bonus plus a $100,000 workout bonus — even though he never suited up for a game.
Fanene had impressed in seven seasons with the Bengals and even seemed to establish himself as a solid pass rusher. In 2011, Fanene racked up 24 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks en route to maybe his best all-around season.
Those numbers and Fanene’s dominance in 1-on-1 situations appeared to be a primary factor in New England’s pursuit during the offseason. But ultimately the team felt there were better options already in house and saw Fanene’s role as obsolete.
The Patriots also released a pair of undrafted free agents on Tuesday: offensive lineman Kyle Hill and kicker Chris Koepplin.
Hill, a 23-year-old lineman from Duke, was a contributing piece to the Patriots offensive line struggles during the first two preseason games. Koepplin, meanwhile, played two college seasons at UMass, but the 26-year-old was never truly considered an option for the Pats given Stephen Gostkowski’s firm place as the team’s kicker.