Sports Illustrated's Peter King is nothing if not controversial. Therefore, we're bringing up a point he makes in his latest edition of Monday Morning Quarterback regarding the Buffalo Bills and GM Buddy Nix in regard to last week's decision to release Aaron Schobel. King takes exception to Nix's statement that the release "was made in the best interests of the Buffalo Bills and Aaron Schobel."
King writes, "...it was not in Buffalo's best interests to release a guy, instead of waiting until a team in camp got desperate for an eight- to 12-sack player and would pay a draft choice to get him." He also states that the release was, in fact, good for Schobel, which is a pretty bulletproof opinion, considering Schobel can play wherever he wants, for however much he can get at this point.
My counter-argument to King's statement doesn't refute his opinion, but only in the short term. If Nix had waited just another week, they might have been able to swing a trade. That's assuming, of course, that another team would have been able, and willing, to take on Schobel's massive salary - a fairly large and unrealistic assumption. It would have been nice to see Nix display a bit more patience and milk the situation a bit more carefully - small-market teams need to be particularly efficient in handling their assets. Anyone think Denver wouldn't have made a call last week after losing Elvis Dumervil?
But Nix was also correct - Schobel showed up each and every Sunday for nine years. He signed three contracts with the team, displaying a loyalty to the franchise most fans are now quick to write off. Had Nix decided to stay patient, a line would have formed - and once crossed, Buffalo would have looked terrible holding a player hostage that was clearly ready to move on. It was a classy move, if a bit impatient. King's not wrong, but that opinion would not have stood the test of time. As a small-market team that struggles to attract and keep talent, the Bills needed to toe a line - and regardless of my opinion on how quickly it needed to happen, Nix toed it correctly. Buffalo hasn't been to the playoffs in ten years. The decision does not hurt the team over the long haul, and their reputation in player relations only improves.
Has anyone's opinion on the release changed now that the situation has had time to sink in? Are you with King, or somewhere else?