With news out of San Diego that outside linebacker Shawne Merriman would be released when he becomes healthy, would the addition of Merriman, to a depleted linebacker corps in New England, be a good option?
Well, Merriman had 39 1/2 sacks in his first three seasons before being slowed by injuries in his past three seasons. In the past few years, “Lights Out’s” persona has been dimmed due to his suspension for testing positive for steroids in 2006 and his Tila Tequila controversy in 2009. Merriman missed a majority of the 2008 season after recovering from knee surgery.
With Chargers general manager A.J. Smith all but closing the book on Merriman in San Diego, the once ferocious-hitting outside linebacker would be an upgrade, when healthy, to a undermanned linebacking unit in New England. But with Bill Belichick trading away Randy Moss, signaling a focus on team chemistry instead of coddling high-maintenance characters, would Belichick welcome a celebrity-like figure in Merriman?
Highly doubtful but somewhat likely. Follow me?
Belichick has been willing, in the past, to bring in ‘other teams problems’ and have them fit in the mold of the Patriots way. With the experiments of Corey Dillon, Rodney Harrison, and Randy Moss (for the most part) working out well in New England, it wouldn’t be entirely insane to assume a Merriman experiment could be just as successful.
With the likes of Rob Ninkovich, Tully Banta-Cain, and Jermaine Cunnigham manning the outside-linebacker position, giving Merriman a chance is worth a shot and could prove to this year’s Patriots squad that Belichick is prepared to win now and not just focusing on the future.
But at the same time, it wouldn’t very Belichick-like to bring in a guy like Merriman at this point of the season. So the chances of the troubled linebacker suiting up for New England could be –well– lights out.