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Nick Fairley signs with Rams


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The St. Louis Rams have agreed to a one-year contract with free-agent defensive tackle Nick Fairley. The deal is worth $5 million, but can increase up to $8 million with incentives, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Fairley made an appearance Friday at a team news conference that was held to also introduce recently acquired quarterback Nick Foles.

The 27-year-old Fairley was the Detroit Lions' first-round pick in 2011 with the No. 13 pick out of Auburn.

He had an inconsistent four seasons in Detroit, and that inconsistency led the Lions to decline the fifth-year option on his contract after the 2013 season (per NFL rules that stipulate all fifth-year options must be picked up or declined before the fourth year of play). This allowed Fairley to become a free agent after the 2014 season.

When Fairley's option was declined last offseason, Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew hoped it would help motivate the defensive tackle.

After showing up for 2014 offseason workouts slimmed down, Fairley gained weight again at the start of training camp. After a brief demotion, Fairley hired a personal chef and was in the midst of his most consistent season until a knee injury in Week 8 effectively ended his season. He didn't return to practice until the week of the Lions' playoff game against Dallas.

In what might have been a good sign of his dedication, Fairley kept weight off during the injury and was down to 290 pounds -- the lightest he had been in his pro career.

Fairley played in 46 games for the Lions, recording 98 tackles, 13.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries


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On the Rams roster ...

Nick Fairley, Tre Mason, Will Herring, Greg Robinson, Daren Bates

Emory Blake get cut?

Practice squad.

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Fairley said on Friday that while it’s his first time in St. Louis, he had a notion just stepping off the plane that it the city and the franchise could be a good fit for him.

“I had a good feel for it,” Fairley said. “When I got to the airport, the jitters kicked in a little bit. I thought, ‘Oh, I kind of like St. Louis.’ I kinda felt good when I walked in the building.”

Fairley said that a big part of the Rams’ appeal to him was the attacking style of defense they play.

“They like to get in the backfield and disrupt things up front,” he said. “And that’s the kind of guy I am.”

While he’s not too familiar with St. Louis’ personnel just yet, Fairley did note that when he was in Detroit, they would watch film of the Rams’ defensive front. He said that he noticed how the line has an ability to wreak havoc on an opponent. Given that, Fairley said he felt like coming to the Rams would be a good fit.

“Really, [i’m] just coming into a new group of guys who are young and moving forward,” Fairley said. “They’ve got great potential, so I’m just ready to add to this group.”

As for how much he contributes, the defensive tackle said he wasn’t concerned about any talk from the coaches about playing time.

“Doesn’t matter to me, I’m ready to roll,” Fairley said. “I feel like if I get out here and get going, show them what I’ve got, they’re going to make it happen.”


“I’m going to put on some muscle and everything so that when I come back in April, with the guys in the strength and conditioning program, I’m sure they’ll get me to where I want to be,” Fairley said.

And while he missed the last eight games with a knee injury, Fairley said that he did not require any offseason surgery and that he’s ready to help contribute to Ws.

“It’s a new start for me,” Fairley said. “I’m just ready to start going, get here in April, and get ready for the offseason workouts.”


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