Here's what Bills General Manager Buddy Nix said about the decision to play this season without Aaron Schobel, regardless of whether the defensive end decides he wants to play football this year:
"We’re trying to get tour team ready to play this year, and we just thought it was time to move forward. We’re really working some good players at that position, which really didn’t have anything to do with it. But we’re working to get ready to play in 2010. We think this is what we need to do."
Have you explored a trade of him? "Not at all to this point."
So what happens now? "He will stay on the reserve did not report list until he makes a decision on whether he’s retiring or if he might want to play somewhere else."
You have young players like Aaron Maybin and you need to find out if they can play. Did you think Schobel's return would retard their development? "I don’t care about getting into that. You can figure that out. He’s not going to be here. Hopefully those guys will step up."
Was his salary a factor in the decision? "No."
You left the door very open to him on Thursday, what about that? "The decision up until camp was that he could still report and had not told us whether he was retiring or would report. It was a point that when he didn’t show up, we’d gone as far as we could go."
Did you think he'd missed too much preparation and time with the team? "Obviously he’s missed some learning. But the bottom line is we’ve got guys that have worked hard. They’ve done everything they can, everything we’ve asked them to do. We’re thinking about them. Every decision we make will be based on what’s best for this team."
Schobel was due to earn $6.025 million in base salary. He could have collected a $2 million roster bonus in March simply by showing up at the Bills' headquarters and passing a physical. But Schobel opted not to show up to collect that bonus.
If Schobel decides in the next couple weeks he wants to play in 2010, the expectation is the Bills will release him. The Bills have no leverage in a trade and would not be able to get even a late-round pick for him, because every team knows he's not playing in Buffalo and the Bills would release him rather than put him on the team.
We'll have to see if Schobel decides to play or not.
There is no doubt that Houston Texans defensive line coach Bill Kollar, the former D-line coach in Buffalo, wants Schobel.
Based on today's conversation with Schobel, I'm not sure what he's going to do. I would be surprised if he decides he's going to play in time to report to some team's training camp. He lives about an hour east of Houston. My guess is he will go to the Texas sometime late in preseason.