Buffalo Bills fans found out yesterday that Shawne Merriman is once again out for the year, leaving the team with a void on the strong side of their 3-4 defense.

Making matters worse is that Bills fans are forced to watch as a former top pick, cut by the team prior to the season and widely labelled a mega-bust, suddenly emerges as a member of a division rival.

The Bills have an NFL-low four sacks in six games this season. Aaron Maybin, who the Bills dumped in August after two failed seasons, has three sacks in four games with the division rival Jets.

What has gotten into Maybin?

After recording zero sacks and forcing only one turnover for $15 million in two remarkably unsuccessful seasons in Buffalo, the 2009 11th overall pick already has three sacks and three forced fumbles in four games as a backup in New York, where the Jets are paying him the third-year minimum salary. He’s made a significant impact in New York’s last two games — two wins over Miami and San Diego to save their season.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan claims Maybin has played about 40 snaps, which makes this development all the more impressive. He hasn’t been this hot since he was at Penn State, but Maybin’s recent play indicates that he might finally have a chance to excel and live up to the expectations attached to a first-round pick.

If that happens, it’ll be another blow to Bills fans who have had to deal with a slew of failed top picks in recent seasons. Considering that the loss of Merriman thins out an already-weak group of pass rushers and that they’ll have to face Maybin twice a year, this one hurts.

Of course, Bills fans won’t care what Maybin does if they can beat the Jets after New York’s bye in Week 9, when Maybin makes his return to Ralph Wilson Stadium in green. A quality performance from new Buffalo starter Arthur Moats wouldn’t hurt, either.