Lights On: Where Will Waived Shawne Merriman Hang His Jersey?
Shawne Merriman was placed on designated injured reserve on October 13th and ever since, speculation as to where he may be headed has been growing. However, thanks to Randy Moss, Merriman has been completely forgotten.
There aren't many teams in the NFL that need linebacker help and Merriman has been known to be a loose cannon, so where he ends up could ultimately be where he most wants to go. But, with the news today of his impending exit physical, the thought remains, where will the troubled linebacker land after the waiver claims are through Wednesday?
The loss of Demeco Ryans lands the Houston Texans on the list of teams that will try to bring on Mr. Lights Out. The Texans have their troubles covering the pass, but their defense can at least keep the run from hurting them too much if they add Merriman. They were forced to move Cushing over to MLB with the injury to Ryans and their replacement for Cushing during his suspension, Xavier Adibi, has his spot back.
Adibi is an okay linebacker, but Merriman is an obvious improvement and his potential alone is enough for Houston to take a look at him. Their defense cannot possibly get any worse with the addition of Merriman and when Ryans returns next year, they could be looking at a whole new defense.
The interest in Merriman from this 2-6 team is obviously due to the loss of Dumervil in the preseason and their lack of linbacker help in general. The Broncos have been strictly relying on their offensive potency, but after seeing the way the Raiders and 49ers have taken advantage of their weak defense, a call to action has to be issued to this defense.
Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins aren't getting any younger and this defense looks as if it is only going to get worse if help doesn't arrive soon. Merriman can bring hope to Denver and if he can rekindle his past success, the Broncos will have some to look forward to once Elvis Dumervil returns.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers season has been full of disappointment and the realization has set in that they are further from their playoff dreams then previously thought. Mike Singletary knows that his job is in serious jeopardy and the only way to get out is by winning, but with a record of 2-6 there has to be a turn around of epic proportions to save his job.
Merriman, after being passed over in the 2005 NFL Draft for known bust, Alex Smith, could easily end up in San Fransisco via waiver claim. The 49ers could right the wrong they committed back in 2005 and add another presence to their run defense to go alongside Patrick Willis and Manny Lawson. Not to mention the fact that Willis, Lawson, and Merriman could also make up one of the most athletic linebacking cores in the NFL.
Placing Shawne Merriman opposite Brian Orakpo is a scary thought to behold and the Redskins most likely won't hesitate to pull the trigger if he falls to them on waivers to make this a reality. The Skins love big name players and given that Merriman's from the area and went to the University of Maryland which is a short drive from Fed-Ex Field.
Merriman would fall into a defense that is on its way up and could help give the Skins enough talent to make at least a wild card push. Dan Snyder loves publicity and Merriman put Washington on his wish list, so is it a match made in heaven?
The Dolphins defense has been fairly good throughout the season and their interest isn't the main thing that factors into their potential signing of Shawne Merriman. Merriman threw the Dolphins into his wishlist for destinations and then the interest for him in Miami sparked.
Merriman would replace the spot left by Joey Porter last offseason and would wind up side by side with Karlos Dansby. The Dolphins have wild card hopes and those hopes can be more likely with Merriman in the picture. The only potential problem is throwing Merriman, whose wild side has been documented, into a city with a night life like Miami.
The man in the picture, Ray Lewis, is the biggest draw for any defensive player to come to Baltimore and as previously mentioned, Merriman, went to the University of Maryland. Baltimore is known for its defensive prowess and is one of the teams that Merriman directly expressed his interest in.
However, the Ravens are loaded at linebacker and would be forced to cut someone that they know can be good to go after the potential that Merriman possesses. His happiness is key to his rejuvenation and being in Baltimore will do just that. The Ravens defense's biggest weakness is in the secondary, but with a heightened pass rush brought from Merriman and Suggs, the quarterback won't be able to get off a completed pass before he gets leveled.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints need help at linebacker and Merriman wouldn't be opposed to joining the reigning Super Bowl champs. But, his cost and attitude may not be what they want in the locker room right now.
Green Bay Packers: The Packers defense was dominant all of last year, but in 2010 they have been injury plagued and Merriman may be the answer; even if it is only as a rental for the postseason push.
Oakland Raiders: The Raiders have seen first hand what Merriman can do to a team when he is healthy and they definitely aren't strangers to egos. Merriman may even enjoy getting a chance to play the Chargers twice a year.
The Final Verdict
The San Francisco 49ers is where I believe the former Pro-Bowler will hang his #56 and depending on how long Singletary is there, is how long I believe Merriman will stay in the Niners jersey.
Please comment and let me know where you think Merriman is headed and if you believe his attitude is cause for concern.