The San Diego Chargers placed Pro Bowl Linebacker Shawne Merriman on Injured Reserve earlier this week after the linebacker spent most of the season rehabbing a series of injuries.
It has also become official that the Chargers plan on releasing Merriman once he is healthy.
Most Chargers fans have seen this coming ever since Merriman's return from season ending knee surgery in 2008 (brought on by a dirty hit from Kevin Mawae at the end of the 2007 season). He has failed to display the same pass rush ability as he had before, and his injuries have kept him from practicing and playing often enough to be a factor.
That having been said, Merriman could still have a good career left in front of him should the right team give him the chance to recover and play on a rotational basis until he is ready to take back a starting position.
Merriman is lucky, because he will enter the free agency market in a year where several teams will be looking for some security at linebacker.
Here are the five teams that seem to be the front runners in snagging Merriman.