The San Diego Chargers were able to sign one of their holdouts when inking Shawne Merriman to his $3,269,000 one-year tender. The Chargers now have to find a way to take care of Marcus McNeill and Vincent Jackson, which, by the looks of it, is not happening anytime soon. Merriman has obviously dropped in production since his injury in 2008, and it seems as if the Chargers, along with many other people, have written him off. In his first three seasons, Merriman was a beast. He racked up 39.5 sacks and became one of the most feared defenders in the league. Everyone saw him as being the Chargers’ defensive leader for many years to come, in a way they saw him as the new Junior Seau. Then all of a sudden he was hit with a four game suspension for substance abuse and came back the following season and was injured in the first game. Then everything changed.
Many started to doubt whether Merriman could fully recover from the injury and how being caught for substance abuse would affect him. The San Diego Chargers went ahead and drafted Larry English, making it seem as if they were ready to replace Merriman. It seemed as if Merriman’s future was unknown. His return in the 2009-10 season was far from extraordinary, achieving only 4 sacks through 14 games. While many think that Merriman had lost his touch, I disagree. It is obviously going to take time for him to recover from his injury, but more than that, teams are ready for him. Although he did not put up huge numbers, just imaging all the attention that he demands. This helps create more opportunity for other defenders such as Shaun Phillips.
I expect Merriman to have a tremendous season. He will pick up his play and once again be a dominant defender but more importantly, he will be a defensive leader. The Chargers’ defense has always been the team’s weakness and Merriman is the perfect personality for it. He knows how to rile up the troops and create momentum for his team. I truly do believe he will become a double digit sack threat again but the Chargers need him long term for his leadership and his charisma.
This is just an opinion...so please Pardon My Bias.