Patriots Reportedly Have 'Strong Interest' In Aaron Schobel, But DE Is Eying Texans

Over the weekend, CSNNE's Mike Giardi reported that the Patriots have "strong interest" in free DE Aaron Schobel, the elite pass-rusher whom was cut by the Bills last week after the 10-year veteran did not show up to camp (reportedly contemplating retirement).

New England's rumored interest makes sense: they have a pass-rushing need to fill with LB Derrick Burgess playing his own will-he-or-won't-he retire dance, and Schobel has been one of those players the Patriots never had an answer for (no one has sacked Tom Brady more).

Getting Schobel, who is certainly still capable of putting up double digit sack numbers, would be huge for the Patriots. While he has 3-4 outside linebacker size (6-4, 243), he would initially work in as a nickel/sub-package rusher for the Patriots off the edge. Like Derrick Burgess, as the season wore on, he could develop a slightly more traditional outside linebacker role for the Patriots.

However, Aaron Schobel may not be interested in the Patriots.

According to Tom Curran, there are two major hurdles that would prevent him from signing with New England: his desire to play for his hometown Texans, and, of course, money.

Indeed, two days before his release, Schobel was quoted as saying, "If I were a free agent, and I could choose a team, it would be the Texans, without a doubt ... Houston would be the best spot for me." Schobel is from Columbus, Texas, and played his college ball at TCU.

ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss does not think that it's "a slam dunk that Schobel lands in Houston," citing that it will probably come down to the second hurdle listed above: money. Reiss estimates Schobel will demand somewhere between $5-7 million, a price that could be too high for the Texans, and too costly for the Pats. Allow Curran to explain:

... New England would likely have to get into an overpay situation to convince Schobel to come. With Logan Mankins stewing about his lack of a new deal and Tom Brady tapping his foot awaiting his own, throwing money at Schobel and a position that was supposed to be manned by The Reluctant End Derrick Burgess (obtained for a third and a fifth last year), would be messy business. Necessary business, perhaps, but messy all the same.

The possibility of having to overpay for a veteran who is not keen to learning a new position (he'd be a pass-rushing linebacker in the Patriots' 3-4 defense as opposed to defensive end in the Bills' 4-3), and threatens to cause unrest in the locker room, may simply be asking too much of New England.

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