NFL Rumors: Should the San Francisco 49ers consider signing Shawne Merriman?

By Aaron Klein

The Buffalo Bills just released former Pro Bowl defensive end/linebacker Shawne Merriman. Now that he’s on the market, should the San Francisco 49ers consider kicking the tires on the aging veteran?

When healthy, the Niners have one of the best pass rush units in the business, sending all kinds of packages at the opposing quarterbacks that feature linebackers Aldon Smith, who led the team with 14 sacks last season, Patrick Willis and Ahmad Brooks, as well as defensive end Justin Smith.

This summer, however, when both Smith (hip), Brooks (knee) missed time, backup outside linebackers Eric Bakhtiari and Parys Haralson earned starts but failed to energize the pass rush. Justin Smith also missed some preseason action, further fueling the idea that maybe the Niners could use a proverbial shot in the arm on the edge.

In fairness, Merriman was relegated to playing the hand-in-the-dirt right defensive end role in Buffalo and 49ers really wouldn’t have a regular spot for him. However, the veteran, who was released by the Bills after one uneventful season following a decent career with the San Diego Chargers that started strong but ended with injury issues, might have some value on passing downs as a potentially disruptive pass rusher, especially if someone ahead of him is injured.

While one could argue that he hasn’t been relevant since 2007 , he still might be worth a low-base, incentive-laden contract, or at least a tryout, from the 49ers. The team would have nothing to lose by having Merriman in to workout, talk to the coaching staff and try to show that he might still have something left in the tank.

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