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NFL Rumor Central: Nick Fairley to sign with New Orleans?

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For the second year in a row, Nick Fairley's free-agent market developed slowly, but it appears he might have decided on his next home.

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reports the New England Patriots -- with whom Fairley visited at the league meetings this week -- "will be out" on acquiring the defensive tackle, adding that Fairley is "expected to sign" with the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints kicked the tires on 33-year-old defensive tackle Jason Hatcher last week, but the 28-year-old Fairley seems like a better option considering his age and upside. The 2011 first-round pick collected 11.5 sacks, 20 tackles for loss and 32 QB hits for the Detroit Lions from 2012-2013.

However, a midseason injury derailed his 2014 campaign, and after finding a soft market in free agency last offseason, he took a one-year deal with the then-St. Louis Rams in a rotational role. After playing just 427 snaps for the Rams last season, Fairley should be fresh and healthy, which would be great for a Saints defense that needs a ton of help.

If Fairley indeed joins the Saints, it will be interesting to see the length of the contract. Teams have been hesitant to give him a long-term contract due to his history with weight issues, so it's possible New Orleans is offering another short-term, "prove it" deal.