There was a time when Shawne Merriman was one of the most feared pass rushers in the league. From 2005-2007, he had 39.5 sacks in 3 seasons and won Defensive Player of the Year. However, since then, he’s struggled mightily with injuries and has managed just 5 sacks. He appeared on the verge of a comeback last year after a strong preseason, but managed just 1 sack in 5 games before being put on season ending injured reserve once again.
This offseason, he appears to be in great shape, according to the National Football Post’s Dan Pompei. Pompei said that Merriman is getting “outstanding reviews” and that it “looks like he will” be healthy and able to help the Bills this season. With Merriman, somehow only 27 years old, it’s an “I have to see it to believe it” type thing now so there’s absolutely no guarantee that he’ll make it through the season.
Unlike last year, he does not have a starting job waiting for him as the Bills grew tired of waiting for him and signed both Mario Williams and Mark Anderson as free agents this offseason. Merriman, if healthy, could be a situational player and rush the passer on nickel downs with Mario Williams moving inside to tackle. He’ll have to compete with an incumbent starter, Chris Kelsay, to even do that.