Detroit Lions free agent defensive tackle Nick Fairley has reached an agreement with St. Louis, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Developments regarding an agreement began Friday morning when Benjamin Allbright tweeted that a source said an agreement was "imminent" just before 11 a.m. (ET).
Fairley visited with the Bengals on Wednesday but Cincinnati reportedly applied the brakes when they learned that Tampa Bay had released defensive end Michael Johnson. Fairley departed without a contract Wednesday night and arrived in St. Louis on Thursday morning for a scheduled visit and didn't leave.
Fairley, selected No. 13 overall during the 2011 NFL draft, was an unrestricted free agent who had been dealing with injuries, inconsistencies and a red flagged work ethic. Injuries have prevented him from playing a full 16-game season and he's only generated 13.5 quarterback sacks during his four seasons with the Detroit Lions.
That being said, Fairley is an excellent defensive lineman. Prior to suffering a sprained MCL in 2014, Pro Football Focus graded his run defense with a +5.7 and praised his pass rush (+8.1) with 20 quarterback pressures in 181 pass rushes. In 2012, arguably his best season, Pro Football Focus ranked Fairley as the fifth-best defensive tackle -- behind the top-ranked Geno Atkins, of course.