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Bills, Schobel Agree to 7 Year Extension

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The Buffalo Bills locked up one of their most productive defenders in club history Friday night by reaching a contract extension with defensive end Aaron Schobel. Schobel, who has emerged as one of the best statistical defensive ends in the league, will have the final three years of his old deal wiped out with the new deal. Len Pasquarelli is reporting that the new deal is for 7 years, a maximum of $50.5 million with $21 million in guarantees.

The deal will likely allow Schobel - who turns 30 in a few short days (September 1) - to finish his career as a Buffalo Bill. Schobel amassed 14 sacks last season to finish near the top of the league, and it was that production and Schobel's commitment to the Bills organization that landed him what probably is his final NFL contract extension. His deal comes about five months after his running mate, Chris Kelsay, received a hefty new contract in the off-season - a contract that rivaled the more productive Schobel's. Aaron is now one of the highest paid defensive ends in the NFL.

Schobel was quoted after the Bills lost to the Titans Friday night:

"Well obviously I had three years left on my deal so they didn't have to do anything," said Schobel. "So I appreciate what Mr. Wilson and the organization did. It's good for both of us."

Jim Overdorf, the man responsible for sealing the extension, had nice things to say as well:

"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," Overdorf said before Buffalo played Tennessee in a preseason game. "Hopefully, Aaron finishes his career as a Buffalo Bill. That was one of his objectives in this, too."

My Take: This deal is confusing to me. Yes, Schobel is one of the most productive defensive ends not only in the NFL right now but in Bills team history. And yes, after the deal that Kelsay received earlier in the off-season, Schobel probably deserved a pay raise - though it didn't necessarily have to be this soon. The gesture shows just how highly the Bills' coaching staff values Schobel. The $21 million in guarantees is $7 million more than Kelsay received.

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the deal - not because I don't like Aaron Schobel, but because it cripples the amount of future money the team can pay to defensive linemen. In my mind, Aaron Schobel is not an elite pass rusher - he's very good, but he's not a guy that will give offensive coordinators nightmares, like Julius Peppers or Dwight Freeney. The Bills' Cover-2 defense needs a guy who can get to the quarterback on any given play; Schobel is not that talented. He gets sacks on hustle and never quitting. We need a guy who can get there on talent play in and play out. How are we supposed to get one now that the team has $74.5 million tied up in Schobel and Kelsay? And does a deal like this cripple what we can do at defensive tackle in the future as well?

Please leave your thoughts on the Schobel extension in the comments below. I'd love to hear what everyone has to say about this latest development.