The 6-4, 292-pound Fanene is a seven-year veteran and is 29 years old (will turn 30 next week). He is a career backup with 17 starts to his credit and his coming off a career-high 6.5 sacks in 2011. His best season statistically was 2009, when he had 36 tackles and six sacks from the defensive end spot. He should add to the depth up front and it will be interesting to see if he can compete for a starting job or a regular spot, at least, in the Patriots rotation.
Also being reported this afternoon, the Patriots appear to have re-signed special teams-focused linebacker Tracy White.
EDIT: Jeff Howe of NESN.com reports that Fanene's deal is worth $12 million over three years.