Being winless in the NFL has one viable privilege. It puts you at the top of the list when it comes to making waiver claims on players that are trimmed from other NFL rosters. Buffalo took advantage of having first crack at any waived NFL player Wednesday when they put a claim in on veteran LB Shawne Merriman, who was waived by the San Diego Chargers Tuesday.
"As we have said many times before, we are constantly evaluating our roster and will do things that we feel can improve our team," said Bills GM Buddy Nix. "We think Shawne can help our defense and so we have claimed him off waivers. He has been an impact player in a 3-4 defense and we feel this is a good opportunity to make our team better."
Nix is very familiar with Merriman's abilities having scouted him as San Diego's Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel prior to the Chargers making him the 12th overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft.
The pass rushing linebacker has played in San Diego's 3-4 defense since he was a rookie as he racked up 39½ sacks in his first three NFL seasons. Since then however, injuries have compromised his effectiveness.
Merriman missed all but one game of the 2008 season after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery and wound up on injured reserve. Merriman has also been slowed by Achilles and calf injuries. When he returned in 2009 he had four sacks as he tried to return to his Pro Bowl form making 14 starts last season.
He appeared in three games this season, but Merriman was placed on San Diego's injured reserve list due to a calf injury as he was listed as a "minor-injury designation" last month. The Chargers later announced that Merriman would in fact be released once he was healthy enough to pass a team physical.
A proven pass rusher, Merriman would provide a much needed shot in the arm to a Bills defense that has had trouble rushing the passer consistently. Buffalo does have seven sacks in their last three games, but their season total of 11 is tied for the third lowest in the league.
To make room for Merriman on the 53-man roster, the Bills placed OT Cornell Green on injured reserve. Green started at right tackle the first five games of the season before suffering a knee injury.