Shawne Merriman: San Diego Chargers LB Not Happy with Tender Offer

Jay BrownContributor IMarch 1, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 8:  Shawne Merriman #56 of the San Diego Chargers against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium on November 8, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Chargers defeated the Giants 21-20.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman could only think of one word after he was informed of his tender offer as a restricted free agent.

"Speechless today," Merriman said from his Twitter account.

"Business is business but some things just aren't right." Merriman continued.

Merriman, a five year veteran, was due to be an unrestricted free agent this year when his contract expired. But with 2010 being an uncapped year under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, Merriman lacks the sufficient number of years to file for unrestricted free agency.

In a uncapped year, any player who wishes to file for unrestricted free agency must have accrued no less than six years of playing eligibility.

The Chargers placed the highest possible tender on Merriman, offensive tackle Marcus McNeil, and wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd.

Any team who wishes to sign Merriman, McNeil, Jackson, or Floyd would have to part with a first and third-round draft pick in this year's draft.

However, those four Chargers players carry the heaviest draft pick price tag of the 12 players San Diego has tendered for restricted free agency.

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Merriman will make $3.269 million for the 2010 season. It is a 10 percent increase from his 2009 salary of $2.972 million. That may seem like a lot of money to you and me, but small potatoes to Merriman, who could have sought out to sign a multi-year deal worth millions with San Diego or possibly another team had he been eligible for free agency.

The former first-round pick out of Maryland has also seen his fair share of trouble off the field.

In 2006, Merriman was suspended four games for violating the NFL's Substance Abuse Policy after he tested positive for steroids. The incident was blamed on a tainted supplement and not a deliberate attempt to use performance enhancing drugs. Even though Merriman missed four games, he would lead the league in sacks that season with 17.

In September 2009, Merriman was arrested by San Diego Sheriff's deputies after reality television personality Tila Tequila accused him of battery and false imprisonment at his San Diego home. The San Diego District Attorney's office declined to press charges against Merriman. Both Merriman and Tequila settled their lawsuits against one another out of court.

It will be interesting how this plays out.

Could another team be willing to part with two draft picks in order to secure Merriman's services, or will his off-field distractions cause other teams to pass on him.

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