The Shawne Merriman experiment is over in Buffalo.
The Bills released the veteran pass rusher today, ending a two-year tenure in Buffalo that saw Merriman hurt most of the time and ineffective when he was playing.
Bills GM Buddy Nix rolled the dice in 2010 in claiming the former Pro Bowler off waivers halfway through the season. Merriman consequently got hurt in his very first practice and went on injured reserve. Nix again gave Merriman a shot when he signed “Lights Out” to a two-year contract extension after the 2010 season.
Merriman looked great in the 2011 preseason but never really got in rolling during real games, picking up nine tackles and a sack in five starts before hurting his Achilles tendon again and missing the rest of the year.
There was hope that after offseason surgery that Merriman had his old burst back, but once the pads in camp went on it was clear Merriman just didn’t have it anymore. Good for the Bills for moving on early and decisively.
That said, I don’t blame Buddy Nix for taking the Merriman gamble. If the old “Lights Out” had ever come back, it would have been a huge boost to the team. Nor do I really blame Merriman, who gave it his all, but it’s clear all the injuries have taken their toll.
The probable winner from all this is likely Bills DE Kyle Moore, who just saw his chances of making the roster go way, way up. Let’s hope he performs well, because right now the backups at DE are Moore and Chris Kelsay….and that’s not a terribly inspiring duo.