By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – The Detroit Lions have pointed to their defensive line as a strength recently, with star Ndamukong Suh and considerable complement Nick Fairley at the defensive tackle spots. After the 2014 season, both Suh and Fairley could be gone.
Suh is entering the final year of his rookie contract, set to become a free agent at the end of the 2014 season, and now, so is Fairley. General manager Martin Mayhew announced Monday the Lions will not pick up Fairley’s fifth-year option.
The Lions have characterized the move as a strategy to get more out of Fairley, who has a reputation for playing incredibly well in some moments and performing marginally in others.
Fairley has formed a fearsome tandem with Suh, whose new agent Jimmy Sexton is set to meet with Lions president Tom Lewand soon to discuss the possibility of a contract extension.
Fairley played in 10 games for the Lions in 2011, in 13 games in 2012, and in 15 games last season. Between his rookie year and second year, Fairley’s tackles jumped from 15 to 34, and he went from one sack in 2011 to 5.5 sacks in 2012.
Between Fairley’s second year and third year, however, the statistics showed little improvement. He made just one more tackle and one half-sack more in 2013 than he did in 2012. The Lions have long talked about wanting more from Fairley, who has a reputation for inconsistency.