On August 16th, recently released defensive end Aaron Schobel announced that he would not pursue a playing career with another team despite reports that he would like to play for the Houston Texans. The discouraging news came as a surprise because signing in Houston made so much sense. The Texans are much closer to contending for the playoffs than the Buffalo Bills, they employ his good friend and former defensive line coach BIll Kollar, and they are the closest NFL franchise to his home in Columbus, TX.
Now it seems that the last word on the Aaron Schobel story may not have been written. Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting that the Texans have continued courting of Schobel and that the pseudo-retired player is still considering playing. He has reportedly told team officials that he will give them a final answer Monday. Apparently Engel got this scoop because of a connection to Schobel through his alma mater TCU.
There have been those on this blog that sneer at the possibility of Schobel joining the Texans but for the life of me I can't figure out why. I firmly believe that you can never have enough good defensive linemen in a 4-3, and Schobel's 10 sacks in 2009 says that he is still that. Pressure is a young secondary's best friend, and considering that the Texans don't have a single cornerback on the roster with over three years experience, it doesn't get much younger.
I've seen the argument that Schobel would take snaps away from second year end Connor Barwin. Gary Kubiak will play whoever is playing better. At 32, Schobel is not a long-term threat to Barwin, who is entering his third year ever as a defensive player and can use more time to learn and develop. I've also seen the argument that Schobel is a camp-dodger and would be a negative locker room influence. I personally have never heard of Schobel being a negative influence before. If he can skip camp, step right in and tally 8-10 sacks, I would do cartwheels.
This seems like a no-brainer move to me if Schobel will sign. Bob McNair has already shown a willingness to spend some cash in the uncapped year when he resigned Andre Johnson to an extension two years into a five-year contract. If the worst case scenario is that Schobel performs at a lesser level than who you already have, then what did you really lose?
My last point on this is that it seems like this might have been a very well kept secret by the Texans and Schobel. Paul Kuharsky of ESPN pointed out yesterday that the team had not yet placed suspended linebacker Brian Cushing on the reserve/suspended list yet and therefore still had a roster spot to play with. I wouldn't put it past the realm of possibility that the team and Schobel came to an understanding a few weeks ago; you skip camp, and we'll save a spot for you. I guess tomorrow we'll find out.