General manager Martin Mayhew said today that the Lions will not pick up the fifth-year option on Nick Fairley's contract. Mayhew told reporters the news in Orlando at the league meetings according to the team web site.
Fairley will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2014 season. The Lions had until May 3 to decide whether to pick up the option for 2015, per the collective bargaining agreement.
The option year would have paid Fairley $5.5 million. Mayhew said the defensive tackle is not worth that amount at this time.
“He’s a phenomenal talent. This guy can be whatever he wants to be. That’s probably why I’m on him so hard,’’ Mayhew said on the team web site.
Obviously Mayhew has given Fairley an incentive to step up his offseason work and become more consistent in the 2014 season.
Fairley, a first-round draft pick, originally signed a four-year, $9.889 million deal which was fully guaranteed and included a $5.69 million signing bonus.
Fairley and running back Mikel Leshoure are the only members of the Lions' 2011 draft class still on the roster. Mayhew said in February Leshoure could have an expanded role on the offense this season.