SchobelESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss advocates the Patriots snatch him up. All indications point to Schobel playing in 2010 after dawdling the Bills into a release.
Reiss writes "It just makes too much sense."
The Patriots wouldn't be counting on Schobel to play outside linebacker in their 3-4 alignment. That would be unrealistic when considering that Schobel has been a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme his entire career.
But given the way the Patriots vary their defensive plan from week to week, and have multiple packages within their scheme, it's easy to imagine a significant role for Schobel in which he could be unleashed to do what he does best: get after the quarterback as an end-of-the-line defender. His presence would be huge in weeks when the team elects to play a four-man line, such as last year's matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.
Had the Bills been competitive during Schobel's time with the team and made the playoffs once or twice in his nine seasons, it's difficult to imagine him pulling this stunt. Reports have underscored his interest in playing for the Houston Texans, but the Patriots might entice him as perennial contenders.
The Patriots are in a bind at outside linebacker. Derrick Burgess is pulling his own Schobel indecision act, declining to show up for the start of camp and let the Patriots dangle while he contemplates retirement.
"He's killed us," Belichick said before a Patriots-Bills game in 2007. "He's got a lot of things going for him. He's got a great motor. He works hard on every play. He's never out of a play. He's got several good moves. He can get up-field. He's got a good spin move. Even though he's not the biggest guy, he's got explosive power. He's hard for everybody to block."
And, for no other reason that the fact I had it in my quote archives, here is what New York Jets coach Rex Ryan had to say about Schobel last season:
"I really like Schobel. I like the way he plays," Ryan said. "You can ask Schobel, I worked him out actually when he came out of TCU. He can tell you how heavy I am because the first thing he said was, ‘My God, how much do you weigh?’ when I was trying to leverage him. What a tremendous player he is. I’ve just got a lot of respect for him."
But don't get excited, Jets fans. A league source tells me the Jets aren't interested in pursuing him.