Saints News

New Orleans Saints: Five awards for 2016, including MVP

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Sep 11, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks to his players in the fourth quarter of their game against the Oakland Raiders at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Raiders won 35-34. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks to his players in the fourth quarter of their game against the Oakland Raiders at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Raiders won 35-34. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

Nick Fairley: Signing of the Year

Nick Fairley had too impressive of a year to leave him off this list.

After a career on the bubble of starting lineups across the league, Nick Fairley absolutely came alive in New Orleans. He finished the year with a career high in tackles and in sacks, and was one of the few bright spots on the Saints defense.

Mickey Loomis had to get creative with Fairley’s contract, in order to bring the former first-round pick to New Orleans with limited cap space. Well, after Fairley turned in the best season of his career, the only thing we can fault the Saints for is not locking Fairley up for longer.

Sean Payton and Loomis now face one of the toughest personnel decisions that they’ve ever had during their time with the New Orleans Saints. After a monster season, how much do they pay to hold on to Nick Fairley?

It’s a bit of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation for Payton. The Saints finally have some cap flexibility, but would need to spend a substantial portion of it to retain Fairley.

But after a disappointing year on defense, the question is whether the Saints can afford to let Fairley walk. The answer, unfortunately, is probably not.

At the end of the day, the Saints will set a value on Fairley. If no team offers more, then he’ll be back. And if someone decides that he’s more valuable than the Saints figure, he’ll leave. It’s that simple. So, how much will the Saints determine Fairley is worth?

Many writers are speculating somewhere in the $8 million range. For a top-tier defensive tackle, that number looks a bit small. Elite DTs make upwards of $10 million a year.

So will Fairley command that type of money in the open market? Only time will tell. Obviously, the Saints would do well not to overpay the emerging DT. But if another team does overpay, it will hurt this defense. There’s no way around it.

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