Did the Rams waste money on Nick Fairley?


The St. Louis Rams had arguably the best defensive line in the NFL a season ago. The combination of defensive end Robert Quinn and the rookie sensation, Aaron Donald combined for nearly 20 sacks alone. Opposite of Quinn resides all-pro defensive end, Chris Long who spent some of the year injured, but is still a great threat to sack the quarterback.

With all of this said, the offensive line was very weak, the receiving corps wasn’t very good either and the defensive secondary was in need of some veteran presence as well. So how did the Rams spend some of their money in the offseason? By adding a hyped up “backup” defensive tackle in Nick Fairley who could cost them upwards of eight million dollars in 2015.

More from Ramblin' Fan

At first glance this move makes zero sense, and at second glance, it looks even worse. The 27-year-old Fairley has always had a weight problem and doesn’t have the strongest knees either. In four years with the Detroit Lions, Fairley sacked the quarterback 13.5 times. Pro bowl rookie, Donald accounted for nine in 2014. When looking at this decision at face value, there isn’t much value. The negatives outweigh the positives 2:1 when it comes to his NFL career. He lacks leadership, is inconsistent, prone to injuries and accounts for a ton of penalty yards. Fairley has accounted for 203 penalty yards on 25 career penalties, one of the highest ratios in the league.

Meanwhile, here we are just a few weeks away from training camp, and the Rams still have major question marks surrounding the offensive line and receiving corps. Lineman such as Doug Free, King Dunlap and Jermey Parnell all were free agents heading into the 2015 offseason that the Rams could have jumped on. But instead, the Rams decided they will send out rookie lineman rather than polished NFL talent. But hey, they must know what there doing right? They make the postseason every year! Oh wait, they don’t.

Why the Rams decided to drop that much money on an under achieving defensive tackle is beyond me, but we will see how that plan turns out in due time.

Keith Myers was gracious enough to give his input on the signing of Fairley.

There’s an old adage in the NFL that “you can never have too many pass rushers.” When healthy, that is what Fairley is. He’s in inside pass rusher that will prevent QBs from being able to step up to avoid Quinn and Long. He’s a guy that will make make the others on the line better. The problem is that there isn’t room on the field for that many pass rushers at once.

As someone who covers a division rival, I found the signing to be extremely confusing. The Rams already had the NFL’s best defensive line in my opinion, and signing Fairly didn’t change that. Sure, they added depth, but there’s no way to get all of that talent on the field at the same time. The team will be stuck with a talented DL on the sidelines at all times while being forced to play mediocre linebackers at all times.

Unfortunately, it was money that should have been spent elsewhere. In a salary-cap league like this, teams have limited resources. The Rams have too many holes in their roster, and Fairley was a luxury signing they didn’t need.

What they did need is a run stuffing linebacker, a cornerback, an offensive tackle and a wide receiver. There were options available that would have plugged holes and made the overall team better, but the Rams decided to ignore those options and sign Fairley.

Ultimately, St. Louis spent a lot of money on a backup, rotational player. It is difficult to get behind that type of move and spin it into a positive. Sure he’s a great player, but the team had bigger needs.

— Keith Myers of 12th Man Rising