One of the bigger debates prior to the draft was whether Dallas should take Marlyland OLB/DE Shawne Merriman with the 11th pick. The Cowboys instead took Troy 'tweener Demarcus Ware, which prompted a furious and curious response from Merriman. He accused Dallas owner Bill Parcells and owner Jerry Jones of lying to him and "smacking him in the face" when they passed him over. He hinted that he might look for payback when the Chargers face Dallas in the season opener.
The rookie mini-camp has come and gone at the good ship Valley Ranch and no one is expressing any remorse over their picks. In San Diego the feelings are not so sunny. Merriman surprised the Chargers by switching agents from Gary Wichard to Carl Poston, of the infamous Poston brothers. Infamous in NFL management circles because the Postons like to hold out their clients, rookies and veterans, as a negotiating ploy. (Think Orlando Pace, who missed three consecutive camps in contract disputes. He didn' t sign a long term deal until he dropped the Postons this spring.) They are the hardest of the hardball agents.
From early indications, it seems the Merriman contract talks will be contentious ones. Merriman missed the Chargers rookie camp and has threatened to skip the team's offseason workouts if language regarding injury protection is not adjusted. This means Merriman will start training camp behind his fellow rookies -- assuming he reports to camp at all.
Bill Parcells once remarked that he hated first round picks because they cost too much money to sign and always report late to camp. It's hard to believe the Dallas brass could have forseen Merriman's agent switch, but I'm sure no one in Dallas is regretting selecting Ware today. If Carl Poston holds true to form, and early indications are that he will, it's questionable whether Merriman will be on the field opening day. You can't get payback if you're not ready to play.