Training Camp is well underway and the Eagles have already completed their second annual Flight Night event at Lincoln Financial Field. Position battles have already begun, there is a clear intensity on the practice fields, and the general layout of the season roster appears to be set. Would the Eagles really consider making another move and adding more competition to the squad? While the possibility should definitely not be put past the organization (after all, in the last week, they’ve made a number of changes, including several free agent signings and a trade with the Broncos), there’s one player that recently hit the open market that the team is unlikely to pursue…Aaron Schobel, who was cut loose by the Buffalo Bills a few days ago.
Schobel, a two-time Pro-Bowl selection who joined the league in 2001 as a 2nd-round Draft pick of the Bills, doesn’t have an extremely popular name like other elite pass rushers (e.g. Jared Allen, Dwight Freeney, Julius Peppers), but, over the last decade, has been one of the most consistent defensive linemen in the NFL. Up until the 2008 season, Schobel had started in 116 consecutive games and has eclipsed double-digit sack totals in four separate years during his career. While he continued to experience success as a leading defensive end for the Bills in 2009, recording 56 tackles, 10 sacks, and three forced fumbles, Schobel insisted that his performance last year was a disappointment. This, along with a variety of other factors (including Buffalo’s intention of switching to the 3-4 defensive scheme and moving Schobel to the linebacker corps) eventually led to the veteran seriously considering retirement. His relationship with the Bills organization basically deteriorated this offseason and the team’s owner, Buddy Nix, felt it was best to simply let Schobel leave and make a decision on his own. “If he chooses to retire, he will do so as a Buffalo Bill,” Nix said. “This move allows him the opportunity to play somewhere else if he so choses. And we felt that was a fair thing to do for a guy who has played hard for us the past nine seasons.”
While Schobel (pictured) is sure to again put up quality numbers at a starting-caliber level (not to mention that he is the older brother of former Philly tight end Matt Schobel), there are simply too many signs pointing in the opposite direction and indicating that the Birds are indeed unlikely to go after the defender. Not only does Schobel’s age, 32 years, go against the general youthful movement of the Eagles’ front office this year, but it also means that acquiring the former Bill would benefit the team for arguably no more than one or two seasons. In addition, it is widely believed that Schobel would like to remain near his hometown of Harris County, and that he would be more interested in joining a team like the Texans or the Cowboys, though Eagles fans might be best to wish against the second option. The amount of depth already within Philadelphia’s DE and LB positions, as well as the tenth-year player’s steep salary status, would also make the addition of Schobel unlikely.
Again, nothing can truly be put past the Eagles. Stranger situations have surfaced before, but fans should definitely not count on an upcoming acquisition of the recently-released Schobel.