Bills GM Buddy Nix addressed the decision to release veteran pass rusher Monday afternoon. Nix cited a few reasons why they parted ways with the eight-year veteran.
"Shawne was battling for the fourth defensive end spot," said Nix. "We think we've got three guys there that we feel good about, plus we've got a couple of young guys and that's the reason we made the move."
Nix is referring to veterans Mario Williams, Mark Anderson and Chris Kelsay in terms of the three ends that are expected to see the most playing time in 2012. The two younger players to whom he was referring were likely Kyle Moore and Jarron Gilbert.
"We want to give these two young guys more reps in practice, more playing time in these last two games," he said.
Moore has seen the most time with the second unit. The fourth-year player appeared in four games for the Bills last season and was used sparingly, but has displayed some pass rush talent coming off the edge. Head coach Chan Gailey said they'd like him to become a more well-rounded player.
Gilbert was signed by the Bills off the New York Jets practice squad last December, but was inactive for the last three regular season games in 2011. The 25-year old is a former third-round pick of the Chicago Bears (2009). He's appeared in five NFL games in his career.
Nix is hopeful the vacancy in front of them on the depth chart inspires Gilbert and Moore.
"I hope it makes them work harder," he said.
Buffalo's general manager admitted any decision like this isn't easy. Nix was the one that claimed Merriman off waivers in the middle of the 2010 season.
"I think he struggled a little," said Nix. "He can play. He did everything. He's been healthy since OTAs. He hasn't missed anything. He's very attentive in meetings. He's worked hard in practice, and he's played really good in spots in the games. He's a hard worker and he's done everything he could do. We think we've been patient, but there comes a point where we felt like we needed to move on and look down the road so these young guys will get a shot."