Breaking: New Orleans Saints agree to terms with Nick Fairley

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Dec 17, 2015 St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Nick Fairley (98) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams won 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2015 St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Nick Fairley (98) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams won 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Free agent defensive tackle Nick Fairley will be joining the New Orleans Saints in 2016 after the two sides came to an agreement on a deal.

Nick Fairley was in town last week visiting with the New Orleans Saints, who reportedly expressed a strong interest in the lineman after free agency kicked off March 9.

He’s the second player from the 2015 St. Louis Rams team the Saints have signed this offseason.  New Orleans signed linebacker James Laurinaitis to a three-year deal as well.

A first-team All-American, a first-team All-SEC selection, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and a Lombardi Award winner (all in 2010), Nick Fairley was an absolute stud at Auburn, helping lead his collegiate team to a BCS National Championship title.

The Detroit Lions drafted Fairley with the 13th overall pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.  He spent four seasons in ‘Motown’ before signing a one-year “prove-it” deal with the Rams in 2015.

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Since taking his talents to the NFL, Nick Fairley has never lived up to his pre-draft hype, but his ceiling still remains high.  Of course, off-field problems involving the law, which now seem to be in the past, haven’t helped.

In five seasons with the Lions and Rams, Fairley has totaled 127 combined tackles, 14 sacks, three pass deflections, and four forced fumbles.  His best season came in Detroit in 2013 after recording 35 combined tackles and six sacks — both career highs.

A change of scenery can sometimes bode well for a player.  Nick Fairley, 28, has been victim to stints with below average football teams. The New Orleans Saints are in dire need of a defensive tackle, arguably their biggest obligation this offseason, and the 6-foot-4, 308-pound monster could come in and make an immediate impact as a three-tech in both pass-rushing and run-stuffing situations.

The Saints are making some noise.  With the addition of Nick Fairley, they may be able to focus on other positions early on in a defensive tackle-deep draft.

With no cap space to sign additional players, the Saints must have something in the works as far as current player contracts.  Restructures are always a possibility.  But a Drew Brees extension, perhaps?  The one-year deal for Nick Fairley means no backloading his contract — he’s getting all of his money this season.  Something has to be in the works.  Stay tuned, folks.

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