Should the Detroit Lions Trade for Shawne Merriman?

Zac Jones@zrojonesCorrespondent IMay 14, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Linebacker Shawne Merriman #56 of the San Diego Chargers signals on the field during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the New York Jets at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

By now, everyone knows that the San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Shawne Merriman is on the trading block.

Merriman knows it too. In a recent tweet, he asked, “How long is the trading block b/c I been on it for 2yrs now."

It hasn't been much of a secret, San Diego's been looking at offers for Merriman since after the 2007-08 season. 

But for a three-time Pro Bowler who had 39.5 sacks in his first three seasons, you would think it would be no problem trading him. 

However, injuries and off-field problems have made other teams back off—way off. 

So why should Detroit take a look at bringing in Merriman?

Well, the main reason is they have an opening at the outside linebacker position after trading Ernie Sims to the Eagles. 

I have no doubt that if Merriman can play a healthy season, he can be an elite player again. Still, I don't think Detroit should even try to make an offer to him, and here's why.

Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz is on a mission—a mission to bring in talent and to bring in players with class, and good character. There is a reason Detroit decided not to sign Adam "Pac-Man" Jones, and I highly doubt it was because they thought he couldn't play at the NFL level anymore. 

I believe Merriman falls into the rotten tomatoes list as far as character goes. 

Secondly, he's a 3-4 linebacker.

Sure he's got a big name, but that is no reason to bring in a player. He might go out and have another 12-sack season, who knows, but since being drafted 12th overall in the 2005 draft, he's always been a pass-rusher, and not too much more. This does not fit the Lions 4-3 scheme.

In the 4-3, Merriman would have to play the run more, and drop into coverage more often. Through his five years with San Diego, that's never been his MO.

The biggest reason Detroit should not pursue him is the asking price. San Diego is looking for a team to overpay for Merriman's services. Most reports show they are looking for as close to a first-rounder as they can get.

As for the way I see it, they won't get close to that asking price. 

Detroit is a team building up, and to give away even a second-rounder for Merriman is too much—the risk is too high, and Detroit is in no position to take any risks—unless it comes cheap.

In addition to giving up a lot, Detroit would also have to work out a long-term deal. That has risk written all over it.

So you're probably thinking, why write an article on Merriman if you don't think Detroit will add him. The answer is, with so much media hype around him right now, some one out there thinks Detroit should make an offer. However, I felt the need to write this piece to set things straight. 

As of now, I don't see Detroit adding anyone to fill the outside linebacker need.

Keith Bulluck has been the biggest rumor to fill the spot, but coming off injury and getting older everyday, the chances of him coming to Detroit seem less likely. On the other hand, he still had 108 tackles in only 14 games last season, so personally I would not be against the addition of Bulluck.

For now, fans will have to wait to see who fills the vacant position. Yet my gut still says Zack Follett, and not a big name.

Follow Zac Jones on Twitter at  http://twitter.com/zrojones


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