Tip Sheet notes: Merriman in limbo

The subject of trade rumors, Chargers LB Shawne Merriman remains unsigned and out of camp. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Hold all those Shawne Merriman trade rumors.

At least for now.

There has been considerable rumbling of late that the San Diego Chargers, confident they will generate outside pass rush from 2009 first-round pick Larry English (just two sacks as a rookie), are ready to deal the former league sack leader. There are further rumors Merriman might be headed to Atlanta in exchange for a linebacker and a draft choice.

The first rumor is unlikely. The second is even more improbable.

The first: Probably, in part, because of knee problems that plagued Merriman the past two seasons, the Chargers received virtually no substantive proposals when they offered him around the league at draft time.

Second: Merriman is a rush outside 'backer, a defender who essentially lines up at end on third down, is most effective when moving forward in a 3-4 front and is probably a liability in pass coverage. The Falcons play a classic 4-3, rarely mix in the three-man front and aren't about to change that philosophy.

Even though he's only 26 years old, there's some doubt league-wide about Merriman's health. He totaled 39½ sacks from 2005 to 2007, but has just four since. A big part of that is that he played only one game in '08 before tearing up his knee. The former first-rounder, who has yet to sign his one-year restricted tender of $3.269 million and is out of camp, had only four sacks while playing in 14 games last season.

Right now, Merriman is a man without a contract. And without much interest around the league.