|Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 4):|
No braking action to absorb, landing impact is much less. Just steering sideforces to consider. So it doesn't have to be that big. It's only there to keep the nose off the ground after all
The 727 was offerred, and delivered to several US operators, with nose gear brakes. A lot of those airplanes ended up at NWA and were former Huges Airwest and Eastern airplanes. NWA deactivated the brakes.
To use automotive terms, the 737 nose gear tires are low profile, large diameter. This means they have low sidewalls, which make the tire stiffer laterally, and are still large diameter, which means the speed limit is in the 190 kt range, depending upon the exact spec of the tire for the model, operator, etc.
The Merlin has some redundancy too, as compared to a BE1900, in that it has a dual nose gear. Ed Swearingen was pretty sharp, and the Merlin/Metroliner were pretty advanced thinking for the day.