The Lions opted not to pick up the fifth-year option on defensive tackle Nick Fairley’s rookie contract in order to give him extra incentive in what became a contract year.
So far, it hasn’t worked.
As coach Jim Caldwell recently explained, Fairley has officially become a second-team player, backing up C.J. Mosley, who now is the starter alongside Ndamukong Suh. But that could still change.
“If you’re asking me whether or not Fairley is going to be a starter, he’s not starting right now,” Caldwell said, via ESPN.com. “He’s second team. . . . But the rest of it, we’ll look. It’s a long week. We’ve got a lot of work to do in between and typically like most games, we’ll take a look at where we are and make an assessment on that toward the end of the week.”
In other words, if Fairley finally reaches the potential that made him a first-round draft choice on a consistent basis, he’ll return to the starting lineup. If chasing a new contract won’t flip that switch, nothing ever will.