Why the Redskins Not Putting In A Claim on Merriman Is More Puzzling Than Moss
Now first to be clear, unlike with Randy Moss if the Redskins put in a claim on Shawne Merriman they would not have gotten him since the Bills (who had the top preference) put in a claim for him as well. But what is troubling is the fact that they didn’t even try. Had the Bills passed the Redskins would have gotten him considering the only other teams who put in claims were the Buccaneers and the Dolphins. I know most fans are more upset about not acquiring Moss, especially since they would have had him since no one in front of them claimed him, but the bigger question is why didn’t this team take a shot at Shawne Merriman? *Also just to make clear it wasn’t a one or the other type of deal. Had the Skins put in claims for both and the Bills passed, Merriman and Moss would be in Burgundy and Gold.
Now I know Merriman has his share of public relations issues, performance enhancing drug test a couple of years ago, the dismissed assault case involving reality star Tila Tequila, and the controversy surrounding his celebrations, but those all seem to be behind him. And although he has not been as dominate since the knee injury that wiped out his 2008 season, he could still be a very valuable pass rusher going forward. And Although the knee injury still lingers, Merriman is maybe a safer bet than Moss, who has shown himself to be a disruptive force.
I realize that most fans want to improve the receiving corps, but the Redskins need to add a pass rusher to compliment Orakpo as well. The best teams in the league (regardless of system) have two great edge rushers. Well right now the Redskins are short one. On paper they have Andre Carter, but the OLB conversion really set him back. Had he been allowed to rush with his hand down it might have been a different year, but right now he can’t be relied on to provide pressure even in nickel situations. Although you have to love Lorenzo Alexander, he is more of a shoot the gap pass rusher and not a good matchup against tackles, who can handle his bull rush. Merriman on the other hand was the best pass rusher in the league before his injury, and still very well could regain that title going forward. I know it is far from a sure thing, but I’d expect a 2nd half surge from Merriman, given the fact that he is playing for a contract and probably just needed a change of scenery.
On top of his potential to regain his ability as a pass rusher, Merriman made a lot of sense for the Redskins for a number of other reasons. He is from Washington D.C. and played his college ball at the University of Maryland, giving him plenty of local ties and a nice story. Also, he is just 26 years old, making him more likely to be able to regain his pass rushing skills since he is still in the ‘prime’ of his career.
For me both players could have helped the Redskins, but Merriman, unlike Moss, wasn’t going to hurt them by being a significant distraction. I hope in the offseason the Redskins might try to revisit Merriman (who will be a free agent this offseason) since they still need to fill that OLB hole, but until then I’m very curious as to why they didn’t give him a shot.