Lions decline 2015 option on Fairley, will wait and see
That’s pretty much the Detroit Lions’ statement right now to defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
The Lions confirmed Monday that they are not picking up the option year on Fairley’s contract for 2015 that is worth $5.5 million.
"I don’t see him as a $5 million player," general manager Martin Mayhew told reporters during the NFL meetings in Orlando.
As a result, Fairley can become an unrestricted free agent after the upcoming season, much like Detroit’s other high-profile defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh.
The difference is that contract talks on an extension are expected to pick up this week with Suh while the Lions apparently are going to wait and see how the inconsistent Fairley performs before making another long-term commitment to him.
Fairley, 26, was the 13th pick overall in the 2011 NFL Draft coming out of Auburn. He has shown hints of greatness at times during his three years with the Lions, but he has also been an enigma for the team.
Fairley was listed at 6-foot-5, 298 pounds last season, but it’s believed that his weight was closer to 320.
He made six sacks and scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery in 15 games.
But what you saw one week wasn’t always what you got the next.
Mayhew first issued a public challenge to Fairley back in January at the Senior Bowl when he told reporters that Fairley needed to "re-position" some of his weight.
"He could play more consistently," Mayhew said at the time. "I mean, he’s got to mature a little bit as a professional, I think. I think that’d be a big step in him playing more consistently."
Two years ago, Fairley was arrested twice in less than two months when he was back home in Mobile, Ala., including once on possession of marijuana.
Fairley later apologized by posting a statement on Facebook, acknowledging that his actions were "inexcusable."
He has gone on to do his share of community service, including running a kickball tournament for kids, and there have been no other reports of off-the-field trouble.
"I do not take for granted this opportunity and feel blessed every day to play in the NFL," Fairley said in his Facebook message.
It appears he’s going to have to show that more frequently on the field to get another contract from the Lions.