The Buffalo Bills, as it turns out, had four million reasons to not keep linebacker Shawne Merriman.
Merriman was due to make a base salary of $4 million in 2012, which would have become guaranteed as a practical matter if he’d been on the Week One roster. ($3 million of it already was guaranteed for injury and cap, but not for skill.)
Yes, it’s easy to point to the fact that he’s more of a 3-4 linebacker than a 4-3 defensive end. But pass rushers are pass rushers, regardless of scheme. And Merriman apparently isn’t the pass rusher he used to be. More accurately, he’s not enough of a pass rusher to merit that kind of pay, given where he was on the depth chart.
Also, given his history of injury, it’s not unreasonable to think that something on his body was going to sprain or tweak or break before too long.
It’s hard to say where he’ll go next; we discussed some possibilities during Monday’s PFT Live. There’s a chance that, like the name-changing receiver with whom Shawne once used to feud and who was cut eight days ago by the Dolphins, it could be over for Merriman.
If Merriman plays, it’ll likely be for a lot less than $4 million.