On Monday, the Bills announced that they were "moving forward," without defensive end Aaron Schobel. The nine-year veteran has been contemplating retirement for some time since the Bills decided they would switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense, a move that would force Schobel to linebacker.
When Schobel didn't show up to camp last week, the team put him on the Reserve/Did Not Report list, and now they're moving on.
"[W]e are at the point where we are moving forward and have informed his agent of our plans. Aaron has been a very good player for the Bills and we wish him and his family the best, but there comes a point where we have to move forward and that point is today. We are focusing on the team’s best interests."
As you may recall, the Patriots are going through a similar situation with LB Derrick Burgess, and could soon be looking for his replacement. Let the speculation begin.
If the Bills opt to simply release Schobel, and he opts not to retire, Mike Reiss expects the Patriots to at the very least be interested in the pass-rusher.
If the Patriots could sign Schobel, he would immediately become their top rush defensive end in sub packages. Considering the Patriots were in sub packages 50 percent of the time in 2009, that would be a big addition.
Schobel has been a pure 4-3 defensive end over his career, so there would be a learning curve in terms of him playing outside linebacker in the 3-4 alignment, where setting the edge against the run is a top responsibility.
But if the Patriots pursue him, it's hard to imagine they'd be relying on him much in that type of role. They'd want him to rush the passer, where he could potentially answer one of the team's top question marks.
Schobel had 10 sacks last season, and excluding 2008, has had at least 11.5 sacks in three of the past six years. Of note: no player has sacked Tom Brady more than Schobel.
If you can't beat 'em, sign 'em.