Underhill mentions that Fairley has enjoyed his time in New Orleans and is fond of Saints HC Sean Payton. However, one issue for the two parties will be how much Fairley is worth in a long-term extension.
According to Underhill, Fairley could be targeting an annual salary close to $9.5 million, but it’s likely the Saints won’t be willing to offer him more than the $11 million per year they’re paying DE Cameron Jordan.
Fairley is expected to generate plenty of interest on the open market, which could make it harder on New Orleans to retain him. But the Saints actually have cap space to work with this offseason, so they can afford to keep Fairley at this price.
Fairley, 29, is a former first-round pick of the Lions back in 2011. He played out his rookie contract in Detroit before signing on a one-year, prove-it deal with the Rams in 2015.
The Saints brought Fairley in on a one-year, $3.25 million contract last March.
In 2016, Fairley appeared in all 16 games for the Saints and recorded 43 tackles and 6.5 sacks. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 34 interior defensive lineman out of 127 qualifying players.
We have him featured in our Top 100 – 2017 Free Agents list.