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New Orleans Saints 2016 season recap: Nick Fairley

Fairley produced a career-high in sacks with 6.5

A look at Saints defensive tackle Nick Fairley throughout the 2016 season.

The New Orleans Saints needed a defensive tackle, and Nick Fairley needed a place to resurrect and to show that, as a former first-round pick (No. 13 overall in 2011), he still had high-caliber play in him, even if it hadn't always been on display.

Few unions have worked out as well.

Fairley's soft landing in New Orleans, on a one-year contract, included career highs in sacks (6.5), tackles (43) and games played and started (16) last season. And that doesn't cover the numerous pressures that were applied last season as the Mobile, Ala., native celebrated his homecoming by transforming himself into a much more desirable free agent than he was before joining the Saints.

New Orleans, of course, wants him back. And the unrestricted free agent said that he wants to remain a Saint. So it seems as if it's a union that both sides hope will continue.

BEST GAME:In back-to-back games against Atlanta and San Diego, there wasn't much to brag about overall defensively as the Falcons and Chargers scored 38 and 34 points on offense. The Saints managed to split the games (lost 45-32 to Atlanta, and beat San Diego 35-34), but Fairley provided much of the highlight play defensively. He had 1.5 sacks and seven tackles against Atlanta, then added another 1.5 sacks and three tackles against the Chargers.

BEST QUOTE:"He played well. He gives us some pass rush. I think this is a place that he feels comfortable. It was a tough year, with the death of his mother, but I know this: There's a lot different opinion and feeling, at least on our end, about that player and that person after having been with him a year. I think he clearly has got good football in him." – Coach Sean Payton

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