Reed reportedly becomes latest Raven starter to leave team
The Ravens were already bracing for life after Ray Lewis. Now they also face life after Ed Reed.
Reed, the future Hall of Fame safety who has played his entire 11-year career in Baltimore, has reportedly agreed to a free agent deal with the Texans, capping a tumultuous free agency period that has decimated the defense of the Super Bowl champions.
The deal was first reported by CBSSports.com's Jason LaCanfora, who tweeted that it is a two-year deal. CSN Baltimore's Brent Harris is reporting that Reed will sign with the Texans on Thursday.
Reed had been wined and dined last week, with general manager Rick Smith picking Reed up on team chairman Bob McNair's private plane. But talks between Reed and the Texans stalled, with Reed hoping for a reported $6 million to $7 million a year and the Texans not going that high.
In an interview with CSNHouston.com last week, Reed hinted that the Ravens offseason upheaval could be a factor in his decision.
"I think as an organization, they want things on their terms," Reed said. "And seeing how things are transpiring over there right now, it's like 'Wow.' I kind of can't believe how things are happening from a business standpoint."
Reed told the Houston Chronicle that his time in Baltimore has been "a great ride. The fan support has been truly amazing – a lot of love and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
“It’s definitely tough, but after 11 years, you pretty much understand things about the business. After leaving a program like Miami and being around the great people in Baltimore, I think the transition (to his next team) will be all right.”
Reed, who turns 35 in September, has been one of the faces of the Ravens franchise ever since the Ravens made him a first-round draft pick out of Miami in 2002.
Despite being bothered by neck and shoulder injuries over the past few seasons, he was one of just two defensive players (along with Cary Williams) to start every game this past season. Though his skills have visibly diminished, Reed finished the regular season with 58 tackles and four interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He also had an interception in the Super Bowl.
Reed's 61 career regular-season interceptions are a Ravens record and the most of any active player. His 1,541 interception return yards is an NFL record, and he holds a share of the record for postseason interceptions with nine. He also has the longest two interception returns in NFL history, 107 and 106 yards.
Reed has frequently offered conflicting comments on his future. Several times in the past few offseasons he hinted at retirement, and over the past year he made no secret of the fact that he was not happy the Ravens hadn't extended his contract.
Still, he told NFL Network as recently as two weeks ago that, "I'm a Raven. I plan on being a Raven. I couldn't see me anywhere else right now. If it happens, I'm a football player. I can adapt to any situation."
Reed, though, hired agent David Dunn last week, fueling speculation that he would test free agency in earnest. The Texans pounced, turning to Reed to replace safety Glover Quin, who signed with Detroit.
And for Reed, a Louisiana native, playing nearby in Houston has geographic appeal. In the interview with CSNHouston, Reed said Houston was "like a home away from home."
Reed becomes the sixth Ravens defensive starter to leave the Ravens since the Super Bowl. Lewis retired, Bernard Pollard was cut, and Paul Kruger (to the Browns), Dannell Ellerbe (to the Dolphins) and Cary Williams (to the Eagles) all left via free agency.