In terms of acquiring players everyone has heard of at a good price, the Patriots have had one hell of an offseason -- and it might get even better.
- Remaining free agents
- NFC free agency grades
- AFC free agency grades
- Free agency winners and losers
- Seven riskiest free-agent signings
- Robert Griffin III signs with Cleveland Browns
- Wesseling: Which franchises are on the rise?
- Collateral damage: Players hurt by free agency
- Collateral benefits: Players aided by free agency
The 28-year-old's career has been marked by bouts of inconsistency and stretches of brilliance. Fairley could join a long list of first-round defensive linemen that found a comfortable home in New England and help Belichick remake his versatile front yet again.
When players like Fairley, or Jonathan Cooper for that matter (whom the Pats acquired in the Chandler Jones trade), link themselves to the Patriots we automatically assume that they will achieve the potential they haven't elsewhere. It's interesting because that is the fear around football as well, that someone like Fairley or former No. 2 overall pick Chris Long could be had at a fair deal and end up playing better than they ever have.
Some of that thinking is because of the culture, but so much of it is due to the incredibly deep roster the Patriots have created over the years. Fairley showed his strength as a situational player in 2015 and could fit nicely into a defense where he isn't asked to play 600-800 snaps a year. He played just 427 snaps in 2015.
In 15 games last year, he logged a half-sack, 18 tackles, a batted pass and a fumble recovery. His career high for sacks was six back in 2013 as a member of the Lions.