When the Buffalo Bills released veteran defensive end Aaron Schobel, I shared my opinion that the Patriots should go after him.
Comcast SportsNet's Mike Giardi has since reported, according to a source, that the Patriots have "strong" interest. But Giardi also reported that Schobel "wants big money."
Piecing it all together, and gathering some independent information, here is my revised opinion on the Schobel situation:
I don't think it's necessarily a slam dunk that Schobel lands in Houston, although it is clearly his first choice. His representatives have listened to other suitors and let the asking price be known. It is high. I'd estimate it in the $5-7 million range.
If anyone is going to get a discount, it's the Texans. That's the dynamic in play for a team like the Patriots.
Veteran NFL reporter John McClain of the Houston Chronicle shared some thoughts on Schobel in a blog entry , saying: "It's going to come down to money, which it usually does." McClain pointed out that the Texans might already be over budget, so meeting Schobel's price could be tough.
From a New England perspective, the question to me is, "What would be the risk of signing Schobel to a one-year deal worth $6 million that could possibly be worth more with incentives?"
Acknowledging that it's always easier to spend someone else's money, the only risk I see is the potential ripple effect in the locker room. This dynamic was pointed out by Comcast SportsNet's Tom E. Curran in a piece today.
"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," Curran writes. "Necessary business, perhaps, but messy all the same."
I think that locker room dynamic is a significant issue to consider when it comes to potentially signing Schobel, but I don't think it should be enough to squash the team's pursuit. I actually think Schobel could contribute positively to the locker room and that his signing might actually improve the dyanmic in the locker room, not hurt it.
So I'd still take the plunge. That's how strongly I feel about what Schobel could add to the Patriots.