Shawne Merriman's career with the San Diego Chargers is over. The Chargers have placed the linebacker on injured reserve, which would usually end the players season. However the Chargers placed a "minor injury designation" on Merriman.
The minor injury designation is placed on a player who has an injury that will last less then six weeks. The catch is, when Merriman becomes healthy, the Chargers will need to release him.
Merriman will not become a free agent though. He will go on to waivers, which means he doesn't have a choice where he goes. Each team will have a chance to claim him off of waivers, with the teams at the bottom getting first crack.
Here are five teams likely to put in claims for former All-Pro linebacker.
Call me a homer, say its a stretch, I am aware of both, but Rex Ryan has never met a defensive player that he doesn't like.
This offseason the Jets have shown that they are putting all their chips in the middle to win a Super Bowl this season. They have already gone out and acquired several high prices free agents. If they find another talented one, they would have no problem adding him to an already stacked roster.
The Jets are already banged up at linebacker, with Calvin Pace still trying to recover from a preseason foot injury and Jason Taylor nursing a bad elbow. Adding Merriman would allow the Jets to put more pressure on the quarterback and help their struggling pass defense. It would also allow the Jets to get a better rotation for their aging linebackers to help keep them fresh.
The Jets currently have the best record in football and therefore will have last crack at Merriman. The odds of Merriman falling to the Jets are probably even higher then the odds of the Detroit Lions winning the Super Bowl this season. If Merriman does miraculously slip through every single team, you can be sure Rex Ryan will put in a claim for him.
Another team that could be put over the top by Merriman who likely won't get him. At 4-2 many people still consider the Baltimore Ravens to be potentially the best team in the NFL.
The Ravens already have a great defense, as well as the best passing defense in football. Shawne Merriman's aggressive style would suit the Ravens perfectly. Merriman would also be a good fit for the Ravens as his home is in nearby Washington D.C.
Adding Shawne Merriman would put the Ravens into the conversation as legitimate Super Bowl contenders. It may even make them the favorite to win the Super Bowl.
The Ravens unfortunately will face the same obstacle the Jets do. With a good record, they will be near the bottom of the pecking order. While Merriman can turn any contender into a Super Bowl favorite, the reality is he will likely go to a team that is seemingly out of the playoff race.
Earlier this week the turmoil in Miami escalated when Bill Parcells packed up and left the team. Parcells turned the Dolphins from a 1-15 laughingstock to division champions the following season, and a team that is on the rise.
While Miami is on the rise, according to many they are still a year or two away from challenging for the AFC East. The Dolphins have been predicted by many to likely miss the playoffs, but possibly steal the final wild card spot.
Shawne Merriman would change all of that. He would add a dynamic edge to an already strong defense. Merriman would turn the Dolphins into a team to be feared, and would likely push the Dolphins into the thick of the playoff race.
With the Dolphins currently just on the outside looking in at the top teams in the AFC, the addition of Merriman could put them into the conversation with the other elite teams of the AFC.
While it is still a longshot for the Dolphins to land Merriman, (the teams says it has about a 15 percent chance of getting him), if the teams below the Dolphins feel that adding him still won't push them into the playoffs it is possible he could fall to Miami.
At 2-4 many people feel that the Broncos are better then their record shows, including the Broncos themselves.
Kyle Orton has been off to a great start this season getting the Broncos out to one of the leagues leading passing offenses.
The Broncos have struggled against the league's top teams, with three of their losses coming against Indianapolis, Baltimore, and the Jets. The Broncos would definitely be interested in snagging Shawne Merriman away from their division rivals.
The Broncos have been dealing with injuries to their defense recently. They were missing five starters against the Jets in week six. Shawne Merriman can provide a great player to patch a whole in the Broncos defense.
More then that Merriman can provide a dynamic threat to improve the defense greatly.
The Broncos play in a very easy division. WIth their 2-4 record they will be among the first teams to have a shot at Merriman. In the winnable AFC West, Merriman may be all the Broncos need to push them over the hump.
For fans of anyone in the NFL, not many are surprised by the Cowboys 1-4 start. For the media who buy into the "Dallas Cowboys are going to win the Super Bowl this season" hype every season, it seems shocking.
Nevertheless Jerry Jones is not happy, and he still believes the Cowboys are not done. Jones firmly believes the Cowboys could still rebound and make the playoffs.
At 1-4 the Cowboys will be among the first teams to have a chance to claim Merriman. The difference between the Cowboys and the rest of the 1-4 and 0-5 teams is that the Cowboys still believe they could make the playoffs this season.
The San Francisco 49ers have said they are not interested in bringing in the linebacker, but you could be sure Jerry Jones will pony up the cash for Merriman. If Jones believes that Merriman will put the Cowboys back in the hunt, Jones will spare no expense to bring him to Dallas.
On the field, putting Merriman alongside DeMarcus Ware will the make the Cowboys defense scary good. Unfortunately, the Cowboys have already dug themselves into a big hole, and bringing in Merriman will not mask the problems the Cowboys face on offense.
Even with Shawne Merriman, the most Cowboys could hope for is to catch the Redskins and finish third in the NFC East behind the Eagles and the Giants.