Birkett mentions that Fairley is now the last remaining hope for the Lions’ 2011 draft class as he and RB Mikel Leshoure are last remaining players of that group still on the team’s roster.
Despite the high expectations, Fairley hasn’t lived up to his draft status and has been working with the second-team defense in recent weeks.
Detroit elected to not pick up his fifth-year option, so there is no doubt whatsoever that this is a make-or-break season for him.
It’s always hard to project trades in the NFL, but if he continues to fall down the team’s depth chart, there is at least a chance the Lions could look to recoup some value for him much like the Packers did with Jerel Worthy a few days ago.
Fairley, 26, is entering the final year of his rookie contract and will make $1,723,500 for the 2014 season.
In 2013, he appeared in 15 games and totaled 36 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles and two recoveries. Pro Football Focus rated Fairley as the No. 30 defensive tackle in the league last year.