Carpenter, an Ohio State product, played in 58 games for Dallas over four seasons, making three starts. He was traded to the St. Louis Rams in May 2010, but did not make their 53-man roster.
At 6-foot-2, 249 pounds, the 28-year-old Carpenter has played both 3-4 inside linebacker and 4-3 outside linebacker.
"I think, by just about every measurable term, they are the most successful franchise in the last 10 years," Carpenter said of the Patriots on Sirius XM radio Thursday night. "They've been to five Super Bowls and won three. They have a terrific quarterback and terrific coaches. I don't know really what else you could hope for as a player going to a team."
Carpenter added that part of his appeal in signing with the Patriots is the way coaches tap every player on the roster.
"If you have a specific talent they're going to find a way to utilize that, on either side of the ball, whatever it is," he said. "That's why you see so many guys playing and so many guys contributing in different ways. They do an excellent job of talent utilization and really try to find a way to get all 53 guys on the roster onto the field at some point in time so they can help the team win games."
Carpenter said he was open to a return to the Lions.
"I loved my time in Detroit. It was terrific. I was able to be part of a special team there, turning it around; it kind of embodies the whole spirit of the city. From outside Columbus, being a Midwest guy, it was great to play close to home. The opportunity didn't present itself the way I had hoped [this offseason]," he explained, before looking ahead.
"I've always been a huge fan of coach Belichick and the Patriots and the way they've done things. They were willing to bring me in and I couldn't wait. I'm really excited to be part of the New England Patriots franchise and everything they stand for."
Mike Rodak writes about the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.