So it's been a couple weeks and Merriman is in fact still holding out of camp. What are the opinions out there on his "respect campaign"? My opinions on it have fluctuated from thinking it was down-right ridiculous at first, to being somewhat called-for albeit logically-flawed, to now being bored of it and ready for the charade to be over.
I said that at first I thought Merriman had no legs to stand on in that he has no leverage against AJ in this situation. AJ has clearly had Merriman on the trading block the last couple seasons, and probably received some offers, but apparently none that he was willing to bite on.
Here are some points that come to mind when analyzing Merriman's situation:
- Merriman's play clearly hasn't warranted a new contract: something which would need to happen before a team would want to trade anything substantial for him.
- No decent GM will go back to an agreed-upon contract and modify it to add a "no trade clause" for a player if it was not originally included.
- Merriman himself admits that he needs to be on the field to prove his worth before receiving a new contract, so why isn't he?
- AJ isn't budging on two other players that are in their prime and were much larger contributors to the team last season that Merriman was.
- OLB is arguably the deepest position on the roster.
- I don't buy the line that him being on the trading block undermines his stance as a defensive leader. Listening to the majority of the players in their interviews this season, the majority of them are suprisingly uninformed on many of the issues that we fans focus on. I would argue that there are probably only a handful of other players on the roster that even knew Merriman was on the trading block last season.
- "Team players" show up to camp to participate in drills with their teammates, learn the new schemes, and build comaraderie. They don't sit out for selfish reasons taht undermine the whole point they are trying to make. "I am holding out from training camp where I could be establishing myself as a leader on the team because I can't establish myself as a leader on the team if I'm on the trading block every week." Uhmmm...run that by me again, Shawne?
- I don't have other contracts in front of me to compare, but how many other players on the team would like to have a "no trade" clause? All players would probably like to have the security of being in one town for several years in a row, but that's the business of the NFL.
My opinion: Merriman needs to get himself into camp and prove himself to be the irreplaceable leader of the defense that he views himself to be. The team is clearly better with him, but he can't willingly sit out of camp and point at AJ as being the reason that he can't be an effective leader.
Recent reports from Acee are that Merriman should be in camp by Saturday and that he won't be receiving an "assurance" from the team that he won't be traded. If that ends up being the case, how did Merriman improve his stance with the team at all? In my opinion, by holding out of camp he only adds to the case that he wont be with the Chargers in 2011 by putting himself over the team.