The Ravens' Pro Bowl safety, who becomes a free agent on Tuesday, has reportedly hired an agent and it appears he is ready to test the market.
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio wrote on Monday that, "a league source with extensive knowledge of the current safety market believes that the 49ers could land Ravens safety Ed Reed."
Reed has hired agent David Dunn, who can begin negotiating immediately with teams, though no deals can be struck until 4 p.m. on Tuesday when the new league year and free agency officially begin. When asked on 105.7 The Fan on Monday night about hiring an agent, Reed said, "I'm always looking for information on my value."
Reed, who has played all 11 of his NFL seasons in Baltimore, told NFL Network last week that he hoped to remain with the Ravens. He said that he "hadn't spoken to anyone" with the Ravens regarding a new contract, but added that, "I'm a Raven. I plan on being a Raven. I couldn't see me anywhere else right now."
But, he added, "If it happens, I'm a football player. I can adapt to any situation."
During the Super Bowl week, Reed created something of a stir when he told a Boston reporter that he admired Patriots coach Bill Belichick and could see himself playing for him. Reed later cautioned that his quote was taken out of context.
"Would I play for Coach Belichick? Yes," Reed told the Boston Globe. "What football player wouldn't? Will I be in New England? Most likely not. It's just terrible that people get half the story."
The Ravens freed up about $5.5 million in cap space in dealing Boldin to San Francisco on Monday, which in theory would give them some more wiggle room to try to re-sign Reed (although the Boldin deal will not become official until he returns from his trip to Africa and passes his 49ers physical.)
Reed and cornerback Cary Williams were the only Ravens defensive players to start every game this past season. The nine-time Pro Bowl pick had 58 tackles and four interceptions in the regular season and also recorded an interception in the Super Bowl. He holds a share of the NFL record for postseason interceptions (9) and has the NFL record for interception return yards (1,541). With Ray Lewis' retirement, Reed was seen as the heir apparent as the veteran leader of the defense.
The big question is, how much -- and for how long -- is any team willing to pay a soon-to-be 35-year-old safety whose skills have been diminishing and who hints at retirement seemingly every offseason? It appears the Ravens are willing to wait and see. They did much the same thing with Lewis in 2009 before he signed a long-term deal that guaranteed he would retire as a Raven.