Watch CBS News

Report: Jets' Contingency Plan Includes Defensive Tackle Fairley

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Jets may look decidedly different by the end of the week.

They appear to be prepared for anything.

Facing the possibility of losing run-stopping monster Damon Harrison in free agency, the Jets have set their sights on veteran defensive tackle Nick Fairley as his replacement, the Daily News reported Monday night.

MORE: Report: Fitzpatrick Set To Test Open Market

The Jets have only $6.5 million in salary cap space to work with, but that number is expected to go up, assuming they release a few more players and restructure a few contracts. General manager Mike Maccagnan can create significant financial flexibility by trading Muhammad Wilkerson. The star end was assigned the non-exclusive franchise tag last week and will carry a $15.7 million cap hit in 2016 if the Jets decide to keep him.

Veteran cornerback Antonio Cromartie was released last month, saving $8 million.

Harrison has become perhaps the league's best defensive lineman against the run. His stock rose dramatically during the 2015 season, as he finished with a career-high 72 tackles. He is expected to command up to $7 million per season on the open market.

Fairley, while not Harrison, would be a suitable replacement and come a lot cheaper. The former No. 13 overall pick of the Detroit Lions in 2011 spent last season with the St. Louis Rams, recording 29 tackles in 15 games.

The 6-foot-4, 308-pounder had his best seasons in 2012 and '13, registering 5.5 and 6 sacks, respectively, before a knee injury limited him to just eight games in 2014.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.