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DT Nick Fairley en route to meet Patriots at NFL's owners meetings

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Free-agent defensive tackle Nick Fairley is traveling to the NFL's annual meeting to meet with the New England Patriots, he told ESPN.com NFL Nation Rams reporter Nick Wagoner on Monday morning.

Fairley, a 2011 first-round draft choice of the Detroit Lions, played in 15 games last season for the Rams (no starts). He was credited with 29 tackles and a half-sack.

He previously visited with the New Orleans Saints this offseason, and told Wagoner that he is still talking with the Rams as well.

The Patriots' interest in the 6-foot-4, 308-pound Fairley comes after the free-agent departures of Akiem Hicks (Bears) and Sealver Siliga (Seahawks). The team signed Washington's Frank Kearse to build depth.

But more potential reinforcements are on the radar at a position where 2015 first-round draft choice Malcom Brown and 10-year veteran Alan Branch return as starters. Third-year player Dominique Easley and four-year veteran Chris Jones are also on the depth chart, as well as Ishmaa'ily Kitchen and Joe Vellano.