With the sudden and heart-breaking news that New Orleans Saints Defensive Tackle Nick Fairley’s NFL future might be in jeopardy, Nick Fairley and his health are on the hearts and minds of football fans across the sport.
Fairley’s health is clearly priority #1, but the football world goes on. If the New Orleans Saints organization is forced to find a replacement for Fairley in 2017, here are four names the Saints could look at that are still available in free agency.
Marks inked a multi-year deal to come to Jacksonville after a couple solid (yet unspectacular) years with Tennessee. After Calais Campbell came to the Jaguars this offseason, Marks was a cap causality released by the team.
Marks was viewed as expendable as he has been riddled with injuries the last two years, including tearing his ACL a couple of seasons ago. Like Nick Fairley the year before, Marks might be interested in signing a one year, incentive-laden “prove-it” deal to come to New Orleans and rebuild value for a new multi-year deal. If he can replicate the success of his last healthy season when he logged 8.5 sacks in 2014, he could potentially be a huge steal for New Orleans.
Like Fairley before him, one of the big criticisms against Dan Williams in his career was his work ethic and commitment to success. Fairley was thought to only really give it his all in contract years, and take plays off when he had the security of a multi-year deal. Williams, on the other hand, has had issues of either not giving 100% on plays or not having the endurance to continue deep into plays.
Williams hasn’t had quite the injury history of Marks, but also doesn’t represent nearly as high an upside, with only 3.5 sacks in his entire 7 year career.
Another former Jaguar, Odrick is the youngest of the players listed so far (29 years old), but like the two players listed above, Odrick could be looking to sign a one-year deal to rebuild value. Odrick is coming off multiple injuries and a down year. Playing in only 6 games in 2016, Odrick finished with only one sack and nine tackles.
Unlike Dan Williams, though, Odrick does have 23 sacks to his career, 2.5 more sacks than Fairley in his career. Odrick would make a solid rotational piece along who has starter upside.
Here’s another 30-year old coming off an ACL injury suffered at the end of 2015, but he looks to be healthy and ready to get back to football, as shown by an Instagram video earlier this year.
Walker is a versatile player who could fit in as a rotational piece both at Defensive Tackle or at Defensive End for the Saints. Walker would probably be the cheapest and most versatile option for New Orleans, but also comes with a relatively low ceiling as he has underwhelmed in his 7-year career with three different teams.