Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said this decision, which has been communicated to Fairley, is meant to motivate Fairley.
Fairley is a 2011 first-round draft pick who has 86 career tackles, 12.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles.
"I have to ask myself, is he a $5.5 million player right now?" Mayhew told Lions reporters today. "There are some performances where he is, and some performances where he's not. I think it's going to be an incentive for him to have an outstanding season, and that's what I want more than anything else."
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun