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Nick Fairley Re-Signs with Saints on 4-Year Contract

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 11: Nick Fairley #90 of the New Orleans Saints looks on during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 11, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. Tampa Bay defeated New Orleans 16-11. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Following the most productive season of his NFL career, defensive tackle Nick Fairley re-signed with the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported it is a four-year, $30 million deal. ESPN's Josina Anderson noted Fairley's agents confirmed the news.

On Friday, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported the team gave Fairley an $8 million signing bonus, and the contract essentially pays $14 million for two years.

Fairley signed a one-year deal with the Saints last offseason, and while the defense struggled as a whole, the former Auburn standout was among the bright spots.

He set career highs with 43 tackles and 6.5 sacks, making him a free-agent commodity after two subpar campaigns previously.

After enjoying such a resurgent season, Fairley made it clear that he was interested in returning to the Saints in 2017, according to Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune: "I feel real good here. Throughout this year, I felt comfortable, growing as an individual and a player. I think I played my most consistent ball this year. I just feel like it's the right fit for me."

Fairley was originally selected with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions where he spent the first four seasons of his career.

He registered 11.5 sacks combined between the 2012 and 2013 seasons alongside Ndamukong Suh, but his production dropped off to just 14 tackles and one sack in his final year with the team.

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That prompted Fairley to sign a one-year contract with the St. Louis Rams for 2015 where he served as a rotational player and didn't earn any starts.

Fairley had just 29 tackles 0.5 sacks with the Rams, which allowed New Orleans to sign him at a bargain price.

While Fairley still hasn't fully lived up to the potential he displayed at Auburn, 2016 was a potentially huge building block for him.

He is a key part of a Saints defense that must make strides to return to the playoffs, and if Fairley graduates to a Pro Bowl level in 2017, then the postseason may be in the cards.

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