Bengals Courting Nick Fairley


Could defensive tackle Nick Failey be on his way to Cincinnati? Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

In a day full of shockers ranging from Jimmy Graham‘s trade to Seattle, Haloti Ngata‘s trade to Detroit, and Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, and Trent Cole all likely landing in Indianapolis, the craziest development may be the Cincinnati Bengals chasing a big name free agent.

It’s currently being reported that free agent defensive tackle Nick Fairley will visit the Bengals tomorrow morning, marking the first time many fans can even remember the team expressing interest in a big name player.

Cincinnati’s interest in Nick Fairley comes at a crucial time.  The Bengals were especially bad last year both when trying to stop the run and rush the passer.  Fairley can help the Bengals in both ways.  The 6’4″, 308-pound defensive tackle takes up a ton of space along the line and can command double teams while still not getting pushed off the line.  This kind of presence would be a huge help to fellow linemen.

Nick Fairley already has experience playing alongside a quality defensive tackle in Ndamukong Suh while in Detroit.  If he were to sign with the Bengals, Fairley would team with Geno Atkins who would greatly benefit from having a quality nose tackle next to him; Domata Peko skills have diminished over the past couple of seasons.

More than this, Fairley would allow defensive ends such as Carlos Dunlap and Wallace Gilberry to face single blockers, making them more effective along the line’s edge.  Players such as Margus Hunt and Will Clarke would greatly benefit from 1:1 matchups, as they are still developing defensive ends.

Fairley would allow Domata Peko to move to a reserve role, which could help him be more effective.  Less snaps means a more rested player.  Allowing Peko to give his all less often could help him return to his “once about a time” form.  Brandon Thompson would likely round out the four man rotation within the line’s interior.

The Cincinnati defense as a whole would benefit from Nick Fairley’s presence.  Linebackers would find less blockers in running lanes enabling them to make plays in the backfield.  Meanwhile the secondary would be asked to cover receivers for substantially less time based on Fairley’s pass rushing prowess.

All to often have the Bengals frustrated fans with their unwillingness to try and find new ways to improve their team.  This year it seems Marvin Lewis and Co. may be feeling the heat and are living up to their word that they wouldn’t be following their “status quo” regarding free agency.  Nick Fairley’s acquisition would represent this changing approach, could be the game changing force the team needs, and would undoubtedly put a smile on many fans’ faces.

Next: A.J. Hawk Returns Home as A Cincinnati Bengal

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