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Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Jonathan Fanene release analysis

By Mike Reiss

This obviously wasn't the way the Patriots drew up their plans with defensive tackle Jonathan Fanene, who was their top free-agent signing this offseason from a signing bonus standpoint ($3.85 million).

ESPN NFL senior writer John Clayton reports that the team is expected to release Fanene (link here). Shortly after Clayton's report, the team announced the transaction, along with the release of longshot offensive lineman Kyle Hill and longshot kicker Chris Koepplin.

The hope was that Fanene would rotate with Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love as a strong 1-2-3 punch in the middle of a revamped defense. Early in training camp, Fanene was one of the tougher linemen to block, faring well in 1-on-1 drills as an interior penetrator.

But the former Cincinnati Bengal has been sidelined for the last 13 practices of camp because of a knee injury, opening up opportunities for others, such as fourth-year pro Ron Brace and third-year man Brandon Deaderick.

Brace, in particular, played well in Monday night's preseason game against the Eagles. Perhaps that gave the team more comfort in moving on from Fanene, who had also been banged up in offseason camps.

Wilfork and Love appear to be locked in as the starting tandem, so Brace and Deaderick now get bumped up the depth chart.