Aaron Maybin's options likely limited
With just 24 tackles in two years after being picked 11th overall in 2009, Aaron Mabin, it's safe to say, will be considered an all-time bust. (Kellen Micah/Icon SMI)
Let's just get this right out on the table: There's at least a 50-50 chance that Aaron Maybin, the No. 11 overall pick in 2009, will not play in the NFL this season. Not only did Buffalo completely give up on Maybin, but also Buffalo GM Buddy Nix said that he's not sure any team could use him unless "he was a strong safety or something."
Maybin, at 6-foot-4 and just 228 pounds, was undersized as a rush linebacker in the Bills' 3-4 scheme. He had just six tackles last season after an 18-tackle rookie year.
The former Penn State star is on waivers until mid-Tuesday afternoon. If -- and more likely when -- he clears, he'll become a free agent. There won't be much of a market for him, but here are at least a few teams that might take a shot:
• Chicago Bears: The Monsters of the Midway have already jumped on former Jets bust Vernon Gholston this offseason and are reportedly interested in Maybin as well. Would a linebacker unable to hold his own in Buffalo's 3-4 be able to transition to a defensive end spot in Chicago's 4-3? It doesn't seem like a great fit, but the Bears might be willing to gamble.
• New England Patriots: Whenever you think of where a player could revitalize his career, you have to consider New England. The Patriots have worked in a lot of 4-3 this offseason after adding Albert Haynesworth, but Bill Belichick will shift his team's look enough that the 3-4 will still be in play.
Belichick could stash Maybin deep on the depth chart, either as a defensive end well behind guys like Shaun Ellis or Mark Anderson; or as a linebacker, where the team has so many known quantities in place that it might be able to reach for Maybin. Either way, there'd be almost no pressure on Maybin to perform and some opportunity for him to improve.
• New York Jets: Something that doesn't bode well for Maybin's future: After the Bears and Patriots, it's kind of a chore to find any team that would even have a deep roster spot for him. But the Jets aren't exactly loaded up with OLB talent, so would it hurt them to give Maybin a look during camp?
You might be wondering how Maybin's any different than Gholston, whom the Jets recently did away with. Well, New York had to invest heavily in Gholston and cut him before he hit a $2.5 million roster bonus back in March; Maybin could be had for far less money.
• New York Giants: Maybe someone can just drop Maybin off at New Meadowlands and hope a team signs him. Unlike the Jets, the Giants operate out of a 4-3 scheme -- Maybin struggled in that set during his rookie season in Buffalo, but may be better sized to play in it, as opposed to as a rush linebacker in the 3-4. Like the Jets, the Giants might be willing to take a shot on a draft bust with, presumably, some talent hidden somewhere.
Giants GM Jerry Reese has shown a love for athletic players -- Jason Pierre-Paul's draft choice in 2010 being a good example -- and athleticism may be all Maybin has left.
• Kansas City Chiefs: One possible benefit for Maybin here is that the Chiefs have the personnel to play the 3-4, which they've used for the past couple seasons, or the 4-3. That doesn't mean the Chiefs will use the 4-3, but the pieces are there. The other pro-Maybin news here is that while the Chiefs are in decent shape at outside linebacker -- thanks mostly to Tamba Hali -- they're not overly loaded. Taking a flier on a guy like Maybin could make sense.