Defensive tackle Nick Fairley will reportedly sign a four-year, $30 million contract with the New Orleans Saints. The amount of guaranteed money the new contract carries with was not disclosed. Fairley spent last season with New Orleans on a one-year deal, and the team clearly liked what they saw enough to bring him back for another four years.
The #Saints contract with DT Nick Fairley is 4 years, worth almost $30M, source said.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2017
Nick Fairley Re-Signs With New Orleans Saints
After an abysmal year with St. Louis in 2015, Nick Fairley bounced back in 2016 with the New Orleans Saints. He started all 16 games for the first time of his career. At defensive tackle, he was one of the bright spots for a poor Saints defense. Fairley recorded career highs in sacks (6.5) and tackles (29). Once rookie Sheldon Rankins returned from injury late in the season, the two formed a respectable tandem on the interior line.
Fairley is an unquestionable talent, but there have been concerns about his motor. Last offseason, Fairley signed a one-year “prove it” deal with New Orleans. Fairley’s gamble paid off as his outstanding performance in 2016 has earned him this current contract. If Fairley can repeat last year’s production, then he will be among the top interior linemen in the NFL.
Going into his sixth NFL season, Fairley has only appeared in one playoff game. It occurred in 2012 in his rookie season as a member of the Detroit Lions. Coincidently, that was a 45-28 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Fairley spent his first four seasons in Detroit after being drafted 13th overall by the Lions. In those four seasons, he racked up 13.5 sacks and 66 tackles.
In the offseason of 2015, the Lions were skeptical of signing Fairley to a large contract and declined his option after a sprained MCL and PCL limited his production. However, the Rams took a chance on Fairley and signed him to a one-year, $5 million deal with incentives. In his lone season with the Rams, Fairley failed to start a single game and only recorded half a sack and 18 tackles.
Collegiately, Fairley played two seasons at Auburn University. He had a breakout junior season as he recorded 11.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss. Along with Tiger teammate Cam Newton, Fairley led Auburn to a National Championship in 2010 and declared a year early for the NFL Draft.