The New England Patriots are making a point of bringing in all of the former first round talent that they can acquire.
Whether it's offensive guard Jonathan Cooper, running back Donald Brown, defensive end Chris Long, or linebacker Shea McClellin, head coach Bill Belichick is trying to get his hands on all of the talent.
The latest member of the Former 1st club to get a meeting with the Patriots is former 13th overall pick Nick Fairley. Fairley was selected by the Lions in the 2011 NFL Draft and spent the 2015 season with the Rams.
Rams free-agent DT Nick Fairley on my flight to owners meetings this am. He tells me he's heading there to meet with the Patriots.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) March 21, 2016
The Patriots are looking to replace defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, who left for the Bears in free agency, and the 6'4 Fairley could be an interesting choice. Fairley has fluctuated between 280 and 310 lbs over his career in attempts to fit whatever role the team needed. He ended the 2015 season on the injured reserve with a concussion.
The Rams aren't overly eager in resigning Fairly since they have Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers at the position and both will need new megacontracts on the horizon. The Saints lack the cap space to be a real player and the Jets are only interested if franchise tagged Muhammad Wilkerson is moved.
The Eagles would love to pair Fairley with Fletcher Cox on the interior, and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was in Detroit with Fairley.
The Patriots have Malcom Brown, Alan Branch, and Dominique Easley on the depth chart, but Branch will be a free agent after the season. New England could be interested in offering Fairley a McClellin-like multi-year deal and the team could move forward with a rotation of Brown, Easley, and Fairley in future seasons.
New England was reportedly interested in Fairley last offseason, before the defensive tackle signed with the Rams. He's good at disrupting both the run and the pass, but he won't be the one racking up the sacks or the tackles for loss. He could fill the Hicks role very nicely for the Patriots.