Coming off the best season of his career, the 29-year-old Fairley was a wire-to-wire contributor for the Saints in 2016, finishing second on the team behind Cameron Jordan (7.5) with 6.5 sacks and 43 tackles in 2016.
Grading out as the league’s 34th-ranked interior defender, per Pro Football Focus, the former Lions jersey and Rams tackle led his team’s position group with 704 snaps and performed well as a pass-rusher.
While the Saints have made it a priority to restock their beleaguered defense, upgrading at guard was the primary focus on the other side of the ball. Before honing in on Warford, they made a run at Kevin Zeitler jersey, who will become the highest-paid guard in the league with Cleveland jersey.
Quarterback Tony Romo — presuming he is eventually released by the Cowboys — is the obvious big-name target, but the Broncos could be active in free agency at a number of positions. They have been mentioned as a suitor for defensive lineman Calais Campbell, the No. 2 overall free-agent-to-be on our Top 101 list. The offensive line is also a glaring weak spot.
Cleveland had been reported as having a legitimate shot at signing the Cardinals safety on Wednesday afternoon, with NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reporting the Browns were offering way more money than the Ravens. But the Ravens have veteran safety Eric Weddle on their roster, who Garafolo suggested might have been the catalyst in convincing Jefferson to turn down the additional dollars to join the Ravens.
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When Byrd entered free agency following the 2013 season, he was one of the most highly coveted players on the market — including being listed as the No. 1 available on Around the NFL’s top 101 free agents that offseason. He was later named the biggest free-agent flop by Around the NFL following the 2014 season. Byrd signed a six-year contract with the Saints with $28 million in guaranteed money to come to New Orleans.
The former Washington wide receiver said Friday he plans to break 4.3 when he shows NFL scouts the blazing speed that helped him become the Pac-12’s most dangerous wide receiver in 2016. And it’s not as though he’s never done it before. UW staff clocked him at times in the 4.2s both before and after the knee injury that wiped out his 2015 season.
He’s been in the 4.2s while training for the combine as well, so an eye-opening time Saturday wouldn’t come as a surprise to him. It would confirm for NFL scouts, however, that Ross’ speed is on an elite level. That could be a major factor in determining whether Ross receives a draft call before the draft’s other top two receivers, Clemson’s Mike Williams jersey and cheap jerseys and Western Michigan’s Corey Davis. The last combine participant to break 4.3 was WR J.J. Nelson (4.28) in 2015.
“Right now, I’m comfortable, we’re comfortable with him in a Saints uniform, and we think the world of him and his skill set,” coach Sean Payton told the team’s official website on Thursday. “It would have to be something real significant. That’s part of being at the combine and that’s one of the things that takes place down here and that news certainly spreads quicker now than it would 10 years ago.”
Phenomenal second-year pass-catcher Michael Thomas makes Cooks theoretically expendable, as does the presence of Willie Snead.