I know many of you remember the lights out version of Shawne Merriman. The guy who would routinely ruin Sunday afternoon’s for opposing teams. The guy who racked up 39.5 sacks in his first 3 years of service in the NFL for the San Diego Chargers. Well since those 3 years there has only been tiny glimpses or flashes of that player on the football field. Buddy Nix thought enough of Merriman to take make a waiver claim on him to ensure his services knowing he was still injured. Furthermore he thought enough of him to give him a 2yr. extension on 1/1/2011 worth 10 million dollars with 5 million guaranteed with a 2011 – 1.5 million signing bonus. The deal also includes 1 million in workout and performance bonuses. The second year salary in the deal which would be for this coming season starts with a base salary of 3 million with 8 million that can be reached through incentives. Is Merriman worth this second year in the deal? Can he be the pass rusher the Bills are so desperate for?
The Answer to the question can Lights Out be Lights Out for the Buffalo Bills is a hard one to get to. Its proven when healthy he is an elite pass rusher in the NFL. He has not been healthy in years though, and to be honest if you know any one (person or athlete) personally who has experienced an Achilles injury they are not easy injuries to come back from. In an athletes case they can be career ending depending on your position. In the case of pass rushers in the NFL the injury kills there explosion off the ball. The best way to explain this is actually with one of Buffalo’s old Linebackers Takeo Spikes.
Spikes was a rare athlete at the outside linebacker position. He could drop back in coverage but he could also get a first step up the middle and sh0ot the gap between the center and guard to get to the QB. It is known that if the power to explode off of your Achilles does come back it usually takes a couple years. Spikes never regained that nasty speed which he possessed. Yes, he is a smart player and got smarter which has prolonged his career but he is no longer the player he was.