The Bills put in a waiver claim on Shawne Merriman at midseason hoping to jumpstart their pass rush with a Pro Bowl talent. Though an Achilles injury prevented that from happening in 2010, the Bills ensured they'll have the outside linebacker for 2011 and beyond.
Buffalo signed Merriman to a new contract Saturday.
"We had been working on it and we agreed on it and got everything signed this morning," Bills GM Buddy Nix told Buffalobills.com. "I know he's a leader. He's been a Pro Bowler. He's only 26-years old and if he's healthy he'll make plays for us and help us win games."
Health has been an issue for the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker the past two seasons with knee, calf and Achilles ailments respectively, but Nix is encouraged about Merriman's outlook heading into next season.
"The prognosis for him is good for him to be healthy and ready to go by the time offseason workouts roll around," said Nix.
Nix, who was heading up San Diego's personnel department at the time the Chargers drafted Merriman in 2005, believes he can be an answer to Buffalo's inconsistent pass rush. The pass rushing linebacker played in San Diego's 3-4 defense since he was a rookie in 2005 and racked up 39½ sacks in his first three NFL seasons. That's why it was Nix's intention from the start to keep him on Buffalo's roster long term.
"I don't know who else had that in mind, but I did," said Nix. "I've seen him when he's healthy and I know what kind of player he is."