Once upon a time, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his staff sat in the war room debating if they were going to take outside linebackers DeMarcus Ware or Shawne Merriman with the 11th pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. Looking at things in retrospect, the Cowboys made the right decision with Ware.
At times I wondered about having Merriman and Ware lined up across from each other and the headache it would create for opposing offenses. Finally, we might witness what two of the most prolific pass-rushers in the NFL can do when they play across from each other.
The Cowboys could be interested in Merriman – recently released by the Buffalo Bills – because they thought highly of him coming out of college and have the need for another pass-rusher opposite of Ware.
Merriman’s numbers speak for themselves: 39.5 sacks in his first three seasons are game-changer type of numbers. The Cowboys are already thin at outside linebacker, so adding Merriman would provide some veteran depth.
Let’s face it; Anthony Spencer isn’t going to magically learn how to rush the passer.
Merriman is someone who can do that and play the run well and he’ll be a lot cheaper than the $8.8 million the Cowboys are paying Spencer.
The knock on Merriman, however, is that he’s also injury-prone as of late, but the Cowboys could sign him to be a pass-rush specialist, which could prolong his career. At 28 years old, you’re getting a veteran who still has some gas left in the tank.
Merriman has a shady past, though, and was suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He’s coming off of a torn Achilles from last season so he’s damaged goods, but I do think that the reward outweighs the risk in this situation.
The Cowboys should bring him in, even if it’s just to “kick the tires” on him. He has to perform or he can kiss his professional football career goodbye.
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