After one season with the St. Louis Rams, Nick Fairley is keeping his options open. The New England Patriots are interested, but so are the New Orleans Saints, and he’s been in contact with the Rams through the offseason as well.
Fairley played one season with the Rams before hitting free agency again. While being in contact with them, he has met with the New Orleans Saints and plans on meeting with Patriots officials while most of the NFL is focused on the owners meeting this week in South Florida. Fairley has also been linked to the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles, but there hasn’t been anything official or visits between the two sides or at least none that have become known to the media.
The 28-year old defensive tackle joined the Rams after four seasons with the Detroit Lions. He signed a $5 million, one-year contract in St. Louis, giving them 14 games that resulted in 29 tackles and 0.5 sacks, along with 7 quarterback hits. He appeared in less than 40% of the snaps on a deep and talented defensive line, but most analytics and grading sites put him among the top 25 interior defensive linemen in the league last season. The Rams want him back, but it might be a matter of years and money keeping it from happening.
The Patriots still have $13.1 million in cap space and the Rams are over $15 million. While the Saints have had visits, it’s hard to see them making any moves while they don’t even have the cap space to sign their future draft picks. Fairley doesn’t have any injury concerns so he’ll probably land more than one-year on his next deal, but like some of the contracts we saw in the last few days, it’s probably going to be low-guarantee, heavy on incentives.