Looking to supposedly motivate defensive tackle Nick Fairley the Lions declined to pick up the $5.5M team option on his contract once the 2015 season rolls around meaning Fairley will be a free agent. Now whether or not you thought it was going to be pure motivation for Fairley or a ploy to free up money for Suh is up for debate but the fact of the matter is the former first round pick of the Lions has taken it as just that… motivation.
According to the Lions, Fairley went from 320 pounds to 295 during the offseason, which would be great under different circumstances except now the Lions were concerned that Fairley had become too small to be an NFL interior lineman. So in turn Fairley put on around 10 pounds between OTA’s and the start of training camp this week which brought him up to 305 a number both sides agreed was the perfect weight for Fairley.
“We’ve given him a range, his range wasn’t 295, he was far below it at that particular point in time,” Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said. “So the concern is a little bit different in that regard.”
“I think my body is kind of a 305-type of guy,” Fairley said. “I feel great. Of course I have to get into a little more shape but that’s camp. . . . One thing I’m going to harp on this year is being consistent and showing up each and every day.”
Obviously this is all good news for the Lions, especially when you consider the height of Fairley’s ceiling as an NFL player. There was also a tremendous gamble the Lions’ front office took in not picking up his 2015 option which in my opinion was done more so to get Suh under contract than motivate Fairley… but whatever. With that being said though the LIons could be without their two starting defensive tackles heading into next season with Suh’s contract being a huge unknown at this point and particularly if Fairley has a good season in 2014.
h/t. ProFootballTalk.com, DetroitLions.com