DL Cashing In: Buffalo’s Schobel the Latest to hit Jackpot


All-Pro DE Aaron Schobel, a former second draft choice in ‘01 out of Texas Christian, just inked a brand new deal with the Buffalo Bills that is worth around $51 million over seven years.

The extension includes $20 million in guaranteed money and keeps Schobel through 2013, extending his current contract for four more years. The fresh terms were reached after Schobel earned his first Pro Bowl selection last season, and it now makes him the team’s highest-paid player.

“Obviously, I had three years left on my deal so they didn’t have to do anything … so it’s good: It’s good for both of us,” Schobel said after the Bills 28-17 preseason loss to Tennessee. “I like it here. This is my kind of style. I’m a small-town guy. I like the organization, I like the fans.”

The 29-year-old Schobel has been a consistent starter for Buffalo since his rookie season. This deal also may open up the eyes of the Panthers front office and their standout All-Pro DE Julius Peppers, who deserves a new deal too. Defensive linemen have been collecting more dough lately than the “Pillsbury” doughboy, himself.

Many linemen are taking advantage of the opportunity and they’re getting tons, of big bucks. So now the table is set and the stage is ready for an encore signing for Julius Peppers, who’s up next, with Carolina’s GM now on the clock:

Schobel’s coming off a personal best year in which he finished third in the league with 14 sacks. That tied him with Hall of Fame legend Bruce Smith for the fourth-highest single-season total by a Bills player and was the third time Schobel had reached double digits.

“We’re trying to keep our good players, and one of the ways you do that is you go to them early and work out deals in order to keep your own,” Bills vice president Jim Overdorf said. “Hopefully, Aaron finishes his career as a Buffalo Bill. That was one of his objectives in this, too.”

Schobel had three years left on his previous contract, a five-year deal worth about $23 million that included a $6.75 million signing bonus. He was to make $8 million in base salary over the final three seasons, including $2.5 million this year.

With 60 1/2 career sacks, Schobel is third in team history — one behind Phil Hansen — and is one of just 15 active NFL players (including Giants holdout Michael Strahan) with that many. Since 2003, only Miami’s Jason Taylor, with 48 sacks, has had more than Schobel’s 45 1/2 .

Schobel said he took matters into his own hands, as he wanted to join in on the fun and accompany the other highly paid DE’s in the NFL, by approaching the Bills in seeking a new deal.

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