According to Mark Daniels over at The Providence Journal, the Patriots have shown legitimate interest in defensive tackle Nick Fairley:
The Patriots are showing interest in free agent defensive tackle Nick Fairley, per source.— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) March 11, 2015
The 27-year-old pass rusher is 6'5", 295 pounds, and showed a great deal of ability as a member of the Detroit Lions. His biggest knock was his consistency, as he would follow up excellent play with shoddy play, and it became difficult to know what you were getting when he took the field. He is also known for his off-the-field issues, including two arrests - one for a DUI and one for marijuana possession - so he isn't without his risks. However, there is no denying the former 1st round pick's talent, and with the departure of Vince Wilfork, the Patriots are in need of some help along the interior line.
A Fairley signing, should it happen, smacks of the team acquiring Albert Haynesworth in 2011; a talented yet inconsistent player with some baggage who was given a chance to prove himself and revive his career with a team known for having a solid locker room and management that won't tolerate any shenanigans. And while Haynesworth was booted after less than four months with the team, Fairley could be one of those guys who thrives in the change of scenery. Like all things, it comes down to money; if he's willing to come here for a team-friendly deal with the knowledge that the leash is short and Bill Belichick has zero tolerance for players who mail it in, Fairley could be a great addition to the front seven. I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there who think he's soft and a waste of money, but there's no denying that the talent is there; it's just a matter of being able to fully maximize that talent.
Fairley is currently visiting Cincinnati, per multiple reports, but New England is apparently the next stop on the tour. it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.