NFL Rumors: Nick Fairley Leaving Los Angeles Rams For New England Patriots

Jack Windham

NFL rumors have swirled around Nick Fairley, as he is one of the best defensive tackles left on the free agent market. After generating some interest from the New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, and Philadelphia Eagles, Fairley is now being pursued by the New England Patriots. The former Auburn Tigers star is heading down to the owners meeting in Florida to meet with representatives of the Patriots to discuss a contract to join the team, according to NBC Sports.

The New England Patriots are experiencing a lot of changes on their defensive line this off-season. Sealver Siliga has decided to join the Seattle Seahawks. The Legion of Boom is dominant at defending the passing game, so Siliga should find life a bit easier because he will have more time to get to the quarterback. Akiem Hicks decided to sign with the Chicago Bears, where he will be working with John Fox and Vic Fangio, two brilliant defensive minds in the NFL.

With all due respect to Sealver Siliga and Akiem Hicks, the biggest change being made to the New England Patriots defensive live was the loss of Chandler Jones. Although he was one of the best players on the team, Jones was traded to the Arizona Cardinals, because Bill Belichick wanted to make sure that he gets something worthwhile for his dominant pass rush instead of watching him walk away in free agency next summer.

Bill Belichick has tried to rebuild his defensive line by acquiring a couple of players. Frank Kearse left the Washington Redskins to join the New England Patriots. Chris Long had interest from a couple of NFL teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, but he decided to join Belichick and the Patriots. Neither are as good as Chandler Jones, but they're rotational players who might be quite useful.

Even with the additions of Frank Kearse and Chris Long, Bill Belichick still wants more pieces for his defensive line. The New England Patriots are going to look at several incoming players in the upcoming NFL Draft. However, there's some time before then. Belichick is still combing through the free agents. He's targeted Nick Fairley as a potential asset. Fairley had a lackluster year with the Los Angeles Rams, but he still has the potential to be an impact player in the National Football League.

If Nick Fairley decides to sign with the New England Patriots, then he will reunite with Chris Long, the veteran defensive end that was released by the Los Angeles Rams because the franchise needed to clear salary cap space. The two of them developed some chemistry with the Rams last season, so Bill Belichick might be more inclined to use the two of them together in various packages for the Patriots.

Nick Fairley doesn't seem like he can command a ton of money from an NFL team at this point in time. The smart move for him would be to sign with a team that can win a lot of games, perhaps even one that can make the Super Bowl. Guys on championship teams generally end up being overpaid in free agency. That might be the best route for Fairley if he wants to be paid.

Things don't always work out for guys who are supposed to be superstars in the NFL. Nick Fairley has never came close to reaching the hype and potential that came with him from college. None of that really matters now that Fairley is 28-years-old. The goal is to capitalize on the limited time that he has left in the National Football League. Fairley can still make a good amount of money.

[Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images]