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Two years, $10.5 million for Merriman, with chance to make a lot more


At one point in his career, linebacker Shawne Merriman seemed destined to become the highest-paid defensive player in league history.

It hasn’t happened yet, and it likely never will.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that Merriman’s new two-year deal with the Bills averages $5.25 million per year.  Merriman also will receive $2.5 million guaranteed in 2011; it’s not yet known whether that money comes in the form of a signing bonus, a roster bonus, guaranteed base salary, or some combination of the three.  (It’s also not known whether the money is guaranteed for skill only, for injury only, or for both.)

Per Mortensen, incentives based on playing time and performance could push the value to an average of $9.25 million per year.  Mort points out that the “more reasonable sum” is $8.75 million per year.

Once the contract becomes available, we’ll break it down with all relevant details regarding bonuses and incentive triggers.

The obvious question is, given the value of the deal, why didn’t Merriman wait for a shot at the open market?  As we pointed out earlier today, Merriman’s agent undoubtedly made enough off-the-record calls to get a feel for the player’s value as a free agent.  The fact that he didn’t wait suggests that the Bills made the best offer.

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40 Responses to “Two years, $10.5 million for Merriman, with chance to make a lot more”
  1. obsession55 says: Jan 1, 2011 8:36 PM

    Id rather flush 2.5 million down the toilet. This guy is completely worthless. He only made plays when he was roided out of his mind!! F you Shawn!!

  2. realitypolice says: Jan 1, 2011 8:53 PM

    What would this guy’s value really have been on the open market? Injury prone, not particularly coachable, ego far exceeding his accomplishments, and a suspicious lack of production since the steroid crack-down.

    I think he got about as much as he could have reasonably expected.

  3. 8man says: Jan 1, 2011 8:53 PM

    They over paid.

    No wonder he was tweeting in ectasy….or twitting..or whatever you call that…..

  4. sirsprague says: Jan 1, 2011 9:06 PM

    As I’ve learned in the last couple of days, there are certain words that if typed, will get your comment not posted.

    Unfortunately, I would like to type a lot of those words in response to this post…

  5. carson9 says: Jan 1, 2011 9:26 PM

    Wow, that was more then I anticipated. Previously I was trying to stay positive about this, but the payout is far more then I thought. I was thinking in the range of 2 million per year. So are they going back to 3-4 defense? Any Bills fans out there?

  6. pittsburghsteelerz says: Jan 1, 2011 9:28 PM


    Twice what I thought he’d get.

  7. joemontanawasthegreatest says: Jan 1, 2011 9:31 PM


  8. bbrophy1 says: Jan 1, 2011 9:39 PM

    The most telling thing about his value on the open market is the fact that the Texans will be switching to a 3-4 under Wade Phillips, the coach he had the most success with in San Diego.

  9. 49erman says: Jan 1, 2011 9:58 PM

    Nice deal for Merriman, especially if he can stay healthy. If somehow he can get back to what he was for the Chargers, what a steal for the Bills.

  10. southridge23 says: Jan 1, 2011 9:59 PM

    Man the bills could really get a lot of return on investment here…BUT knowing them, they’ll find a way to screw it up

  11. *Legion* says: Jan 1, 2011 10:24 PM

    You got the question wrong. The correct question is, why didn’t the BILLS wait until Merriman hit the open market and received nothing but a 1-year veteran minimum offer?

    Seriously, what’s the going rate on post-roids linebackers who can’t get sacks and get blow’d up by Maurice Jones-Drew?

    Granted, MJD is a little atom bomb, but still, a linebacker can’t get punked by a back like that.

  12. pooflingingmonkey says: Jan 1, 2011 10:27 PM

    Ralph Wilson, God bless him, has become desperate to win a Super Bowl before he expires. With signings like this, I don’t like his chances unless he lives to be about 180 years old.

  13. db105 says: Jan 1, 2011 10:30 PM

    There’s a reason why the Bills have and will continue to struggle. Just like the dumb will be poor.

  14. patfan77 says: Jan 1, 2011 10:40 PM

    Just what the afc east needs a piece if sh– steroid head a hole thanks bills!!

  15. xli2006 says: Jan 1, 2011 10:49 PM

    Did he wear a ski mask when he signed that contract? Cause the Bills might have just got robbed.

  16. contract says: Jan 1, 2011 10:50 PM

    And that right there is why the Bills are the Bills.

  17. bleedblue18 says: Jan 1, 2011 10:58 PM

    Not bad Merriman, 10.5 Millionfor 2 years, Basically 5 Million dollars a year for a guy that has not done anything for the last 2-3 years besides get hurt.
    Good for you, always root for the little guy to get his from the Billionaire. Hopefully you will stay healthy and earn that contract for the Bills though.

  18. nokoolaidcowboy says: Jan 1, 2011 11:20 PM

    Ha, ha. Glad to Jerry Jones isn’t the only moron that over pays players.

  19. oregonbear says: Jan 1, 2011 11:23 PM

    Happy New Year for Merriman. Wish I could say the same for Bills fans.

  20. 49erman says: Jan 1, 2011 11:26 PM

    The Bills have to fix the run D as it is the worst in the league and their pass D was not a whole lot better.

  21. francheyes says: Jan 1, 2011 11:29 PM

    I feel bad for the Bills. Merriman isn’t the answer they want.

  22. polishkingski says: Jan 1, 2011 11:33 PM

    if the bills were not put off by shawns injury 20 minutes into his stint with them then i think buddy nix knows that he has got something left in the tank. also he has been a great teamate since signing.

  23. norton20 says: Jan 1, 2011 11:35 PM

    If healthy (huge if) he’s better than what they have (which is sure as hell not saying much). I’d rather they’d draft a young guy with some ability and desire and pay HIM for what he does for the Bills rather than paying Merriman for what he did for another team.

  24. paulnoga says: Jan 1, 2011 11:40 PM

    Merriman was great, years ago. No he is damaged goods. What a joke. Buffalo fans deserve better.

  25. blackcatnfl says: Jan 1, 2011 11:41 PM

    I agree with the consensus here, that Merriman couldn’t sign this fast enough. Then again, I can’t confess to having actually watched him play in the last couple of years.

  26. skoobyfl says: Jan 1, 2011 11:43 PM

    Writing off talented / injured players at such a young age is really unwise. Maybe Shawn plans on showing the world he’s ready to breakout or he’s full of it. Either way, I like the Bills stepping up to keep FA players, it’s a sign that things are changing for the better.

  27. billsfan1 says: Jan 1, 2011 11:51 PM

    I’m not saying it will pan out but 2.5 million is worth he inherent risk….the 8 or 9 million would only happen if he played well….if he doesn’t play he becomes an jnjuy settlement….stop criticizing as though thy are Def. Paying him 9 million.

  28. ravensos says: Jan 2, 2011 12:03 AM

    i wonder how much the Bills would pay me

  29. ravensos says: Jan 2, 2011 12:05 AM

    also, why do teams make deals like this? even if he plays like his old steroid self he’ll just hold out for a bigger contract year 2, its a lose-lose.

  30. jagerbolt says: Jan 2, 2011 12:06 AM

    Dear Bills Fans,

    Since you are new to the Merriman off-season experience let me break it down for you.

    He’ll begin by tweeting how he’s going to get healthy during the down time and get back to his “old form”.

    During the off season he will likely make several TV appearances talking about how he’s never been “completely healthy” and hype up how great he feels. He may even appear on some wrestling show, just to prove this.

    Before training camp it’ll be more tweets about how he’s spending so much time in the “gym” and how he’s in the best shape & completely 100% healthy. He may even post a video of him lifting weights or playing basketball to show he’s not lying! He’s “Lights Out” again!

    Pre-season games – he hardly plays, claims he has a sore hammy or some other random injury that needs to be nursed and “watched closely” so it doesn’t get worse. He’s gotta wait to unleash the beast!!

    Game 1. Injured after the first series, leaves game, hardly plays rest of the year and when he does it’s pretty bad and blames it on “nagging injuries” before being placed on IR. And then repeat the following off-season.

    Happens every year. Lights went out for him a long time ago sadly. Enjoy!

  31. laxer37 says: Jan 2, 2011 12:13 AM

    Anything above the veteran minimum is too much.

    Vegas has already set the over/under on games he’ll be healthy enough to play in at 3.

    I’m taking the under.

  32. williamcowher says: Jan 2, 2011 8:37 AM

    I wouldn’t have made this move.

  33. bluefan204 says: Jan 2, 2011 8:59 AM

    Who would pay this guy that much for doing absolutely nothing for the team so far? When the ‘roids went away, so did his production, and suddenly, he can’t stay on the field because of injury after injury(which is due to the aforementioned ‘roids going away)

    I wouldn’t have given him a cent more than $100,000, and with no guarantees. The Bills, in essence, just gave this loser bum a winning lottery ticket.

  34. pukey60 says: Jan 2, 2011 9:07 AM

    Scenario 1: He is cut next year at training camp
    Scenario 2: He gets hurt in training camp and goes on IR
    Scenario 3: He plays but has zero impact

    Please note all scenarios have same results:

  35. grpatriot says: Jan 2, 2011 9:09 AM

    Bookends………Merriman and the kid from Penn. State who’s name I can’t remember???
    Has been and a never was?

  36. nickster2k says: Jan 2, 2011 9:50 AM

    wow. it’s almost like that moron Donahoe never left.

  37. ralphwilsonsucks says: Jan 2, 2011 10:15 AM

    49erman; The Bills are ranked fourth in pass Defense. Look it up.

  38. jpmelon says: Jan 2, 2011 10:15 AM

    I don’t see the problem with this. Incentive based salary is the way to go with this guy. 2 mil a year and a waiver claim is not a real gamble. He gets the 8 mil if he stays healthy and plays. If he sucks, then we can bench him.

  39. rabidbillsfan says: Jan 2, 2011 10:39 AM

    First, to the Pat’s fan about adding a roider to the AFCE. I think Merriman learned from the best, you know Rodney Harrison, Junior Seau, oh and look Brandon Spikes too. Also this was a great move, an incentive laden contract is what this guy needed. He will be a Part-Time pass rusher until he can prove to be healthy and contribute. He would have made about the same else where, someone probaly would have paid him more so there has to be more in the language that hopefully will come out in the next few days as to why he signed. Also there are TONS of guys in the leauge that are overpaid, and none of which will ever live up to those expectations, and also with no prior success. The Bills did right by me, they are trying to make this D work, and there top 2-3 picks will be used on the O-Line, and D-Line and probaly a QB of the Future. Even though Fitz is the Soulution right now.

  40. patfan77 says: Jan 2, 2011 10:26 PM

    Die Shawn just die

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