The Bills took a flyer on a faded superstar who's only 26 years old. Bills general manager Buddy Nix is a former San Diego Chargers scouting executive who was around for Merriman's glory years.
The move is tantamount to a half-season tryout for Merriman. He's playing on a one-year contract. If he performs well, then he could be in line for a big contract.
The Chargers waived Merriman after a tumultuous last few seasons. He played 18 games since the end of 2007 because of injuries. The Chargers placed him on season-ending injured reserve because of a calf problem.
Merriman recorded 39.5 sacks through his first three NFL seasons, but he has only four sacks since then.
The Bills haven't officially announced the signing as of this posting, but Schefter reports Merriman isn't expected to play Sunday against the Chicago Bears in Toronto. That would max out Merriman's season at eight games for Buffalo.
At his regular Wednesday news conference, Bills head coach Chan Gailey was spacey in his thoughts about Merriman. Gailey said he didn't have much recent knowledge of Merriman when asked his opinion on him. Then again, maybe Gailey was acting.
"You know, I hadn't seen Shawne in a while," Gailey said. "He's been banged up a little bit, and I know at one time he was a guy that you had to know where he was at all times. He has been a great player in years past, but I haven't seen him lately. It's hard for me to answer that question."
You'd assume a head coach would have examined as much game film as possible while consulting about the decision.
Gailey, the head coach at Georgia Tech from 2002 through 2007, thought Merriman had left Maryland before their paths could cross in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Merriman was at Maryland from 2002 through 2005.
"I think he was gone by the time I got there," Gailey said.