The Saints signed defensive tackle Nick Fairley last offseason. Fairley had the best year of his career with the Saints. He racked up 6.5 sacks and 43 tackles. He was drafted by the Lions in 2011 His best year with the team was 2013 were Fairley tailed six sacks and thirty four tackles. Fairley only lasted four years with the Lions, and later played a year with the Rams getting half a sack that season. Fairley has dealt with some injuries throughout his career but none as serious as the one they discovered in his pre-draft physical.
This offseason Fairley went to a physical before he re-signed with the Saints and the heart issue that previously had been found in his pre-draft physical had resurfaced. Fairley has
seen three different doctors and it has been finalized, he will miss the entire 2017 season.
The Saints placed Fairley on Non Football Injury list on Monday afternoon. This could jeopardize Fairley’s career with the Saints and the NFL. It is unclear how the Saints will pay or not pay Fairley. With the loss of Fairley a huge hole on defense emerges.
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Sheldon Rankins was a solid defensive tackle when he came back from a leg injury. Rankins is now the obvious starting defensive tackle but who will start beside him? The Saints signed Tony McDaniel earlier this month and they also have second-year defensive tackle, David Onyemata and third-year defensive tackle, Tyeler Davison.
The biggest question is who will fill the second spot on the interior of the defensive line. The New York Jets recently rolled Sheldon Richardson out on the trade block. While Richardson has been a solid player for the Jets, he has a character problem that could cause the Saints to be reluctant to go after him. Regardless, the Saints will need someone to step up to fill the huge loss of Fairley on defense.
Brenden Ertle is a writer for Cover 32 New Orleans. You can find him, and more of his writings and content, at @BrendenE_Saints , or check back into Cover 32 New Orleans for more!