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Late For Work 11/13: Ed Reed Cashed In. Would Ravens Re-Sign Him?

Posted Nov 13, 2013

Flacco more effective out of pocket. Why Ihedigbo became defensive leader in 15 months. Power rankings.

Reed Ca$hed In. Would Ravens Re-Sign Him?

Before you even ask the question, the answer is a resounding “NO,” according to … everyone that is not a nostalgic Ravens fan.

And believe me, there are – understandably – a lot of nostalgic Ravens fans out there.

In our poll asking whether Baltimore should re-sign safety Ed Reed after he was released by the Houston Texans yesterday, 65 percent voted in favor of such a move.  Ravens fans aren’t the only ones who think Reed could still contribute; 69 percent of SportsNation voters said they would want their favorite team to sign Reed too.

But bringing Reed back to Baltimore would be a bad move, says ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, unless it is for a one-day contract when he decides to retire.

“The last memory of Reed in a Ravens uniform should be of him hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans,” Hensley wrote.

“Reed will go down as the third-best player to ever suit up for the Ravens, behind [Ray] Lewis and Hall of Fame offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden. The Ravens showed him a sign of respect by not giving out No. 20 to any player this year. That doesn't mean they should re-sign him.”

In addition to Reed already having a perfect final memory in Baltimore, here are three other reasons from pundits against re-signing him:

1) ‘Old And Slow’

Let’s take a look at Reed’s performance so far this season.

After missing the first two games recovering from offseason hip surgery, Reed had zero interceptions, zero fumble recoveries, zero forced fumbles, zero sacks and just 16 tackles in seven games. The future Hall of Famer was benched in favor of third-year player Shiloh Keo.

In a nutshell, the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year is now “old and slow,” says Hensley.

Even after reportedly investing between $5 and $6 million for five starts this season, the Texans still felt it was best to part ways. The release was the Texans’ way of finally admitting they made a mistake signing him in the first place, wrote ESPN’s Tania Ganguli.

Even Reed admitted Sunday that he’s no longer the same player.

"I'm not perfect. I know I'm held to a high standard because of what I've done in the past, but that was the past,” he told reporters. “I'm a totally different player now."

2) Reed’s Antics

During his 11 seasons in Baltimore, Reed was never one to bite his tongue.

Considering all he did for the franchise, he certainly earned the right to speak up. But with his production on the decline, the Texans weren’t going to put up with it after they moved him to a backup role. He told media last week that Houston was “outplayed and outcoached.”

“It's likely that had Reed kept quiet, he would still be on the team as a backup,” wrote Ganguli.

Added The Baltimore Sun’s Childs Walker: “The Texans saw in Reed a guy who was no longer good enough to start for them but who still had the ego to critique his coaches’ performance publicly.”

Reed was publicly honest when he was with the Ravens too. He criticized quarterback Joe Flacco in an ESPN interview, and he made his desires for a restructured contract known for two years. Because he was so good on the field and a mentor to younger players, the Ravens “swallowed his eccentricities for 11 seasons.”

“Like Ray Lewis and a few others, he carried great-player privileges,” Walker wrote. “The bargain worked out for everyone.  But when you’re not great anymore and you’re playing in a new town where you haven’t built a cushion of good will, those privileges vanish in a hurry.”

3) Ravens Have Moved On

According to reports, the Ravens showed little interest in bringing back Reed this offseason when the Texans were heavily courting him. Instead, they used their first-round pick on Matt Elam and signed free-agent veteran Michael Huff, who they recently cut.

If the Ravens didn’t show much interest then, nothing has transpired in Baltimore to change that. In fact, Sunday was the secondary’s best game of the season. Elam has become a starter and will only get better, and James Ihedigbo has been a pleasant surprise and notched his first two career interceptions against the Bengals.

“The Ravens have moved on from Reed, just as they have with Ray Lewis,” wrote Hensley. “If the Ravens are adding a safety, it would be someone who can play special teams and add depth in the defensive backfield. They're not going to pay Reed just for his leadership.”

Whether the Ravens agree with all those reason is unknown, but the team will not make a waiver claim for Reed, according to ProFootballTalk.com.

Reed Smiling All The Way To The Bank

Some are wondering if this is the end of Reed’s career in the NFL. 

There could be some safety-hungry teams that need him. The New England Patriots are a team many are talking about as a potential landing spot considering the mutual admiration Head Coach Bill Belichick and Reed have for one another.

But if Reed did decide to retire, he would ride off into the sunset on a high note despite getting cut from the Texans prematurely.

“It’s been a good year for Ed Reed,” wrote ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio.

“Reed won a Super Bowl with the Ravens.  He went to the White House.  President Obama mentioned Reed’s name, even though he was simply pointing out his gray hair. And Reed has now received $5 million for five total starts with the Texans.”

Hensley: Flacco More Effective Out Of Pocket

Flacco was the first to admit after Sunday’s game that the offense struggled. He finished with just 140 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for a quarterback rating of 60.

But Head Coach John Harbaugh pointed out that the Ravens would have lost the game if it weren’t for three plays that Flacco made with pressure bearing down.

The touchdown completion to tight end Dallas Clark in the first quarter, as the quarterback threw an accurate pass with blitzers in his face and at his waist. The lob to Ray Rice in overtime as coverage broke down. And finally, the bullet to tight end Ed Dickson as Flacco was being chased out of bounds for a critical first down that set up the game-winning field goal.

We don’t win without Joe making tremendous plays,” Harbaugh said. “The fact that he’s made plays out of the pocket the last few weeks – the plays he made to score the first touchdown and the plays he made in overtime – there are no better plays being made outside the pocket than that. That’s something that Joe is doing really well.”

“There's no disputing Harbaugh on that point,” Hensley wrote. “Flacco has been at his most effective lately when he's running for his life or scrambling, depending on your perspective.”

Per ESPN, Flacco has completed more a higher percentage of his passes outside the pocket than inside.

Inside pocket (last two games)
Completed 55.2 percent of his passes
Averaged 4.7 yards per attempt
Threw three touchdowns
Threw three interceptions
Notched 64.2 passer rating (28th in the NFL)

Outside pocket (last two games)
Completed 70 percent of his passes
Averaged 7.1 yards per attempt
Threw one touchdown
Threw zero interceptions
Notched 123.3 passer rating (third in the NFL)

Power Rankings: Week 11

The Ravens’ average spot in the rankings below is No. 17, and that is a jump up after squeaking by with a win in overtime last week.

SB Nation, Jason Chilton: No. 10 (jumped seven spots)
“After a Saturday marathon of MTV's 16 and Pregnant, Ravens DB James Ihedigbo got confused on a fourth-quarter Hail Mary and went for the ‘Knock It Up’ gambit rather than the time-honored ‘Knock It Down’ approach. It was one of the only bad defensive moments for the Ravens, though, as they forced the Red Rifle Squirt Gun into a trio of turnovers. The Ravens' run game looks broken beyond repair, but if their secondary plays to its potential, they could set themselves up for a run if Joe Flacco can pull a Double Eli and play over his head again during the right stretch of games.”

ProFootballTalk.com, Mike Florio: No. 21 (no movement)
“The one team that none of the other AFC playoff teams want to see in the playoffs is the Ravens.”

ESPN, Panel of six voters: No. 18 (jumped three spots)
“Baltimore averaged under 3 yards per rush Sunday, and Joe Flacco was 0-for-7 with an interception on throws at least 15 yards downfield. Also, the Ravens won. Seriously.”

CBSSports.com, Pete Prisco: No. 20 (dropped one spot)
“That might have been a season saver against the Bengals. Even so, they just don't look good.”

SportingNews.com, Vinnie Iyer: No. 17 (jumped four spots)
“The Ravens thought they were about to suffer another disheartening close defeat when the Bengals had a Hail Mary answered, but credit their resolve for winning in overtime a game they absolutely needed to save their playoff hopes.”

NFL.com, Elliot Harrison: No. 18 (no movement)
“Give Sunday's win to the Ravens' front seven, which made life miserable for Andy Dalton. The group sacked Dalton five times, collapsing his pocket with abandon and contributing to his 47.1 percent completion rate. The Ravens are now 1.5 games behind the Bengals in the AFC North. Unfortunately for Baltimore, the lack of a viable running attack puts any kind of playoff chances at serious risk. Ray Rice might have lost not a step but a yard – he ran 18 times for just 30 yards Sunday, and he hasn't gained more than 2 yards per carry since Oct. 20. Yes, 2 yards per carry. Coach John Harbaugh says Rice's health has been an issue. Whatever the issue might be, Baltimore simply must find a running game.”

Fox Sports, Brian Billick: No. 18 (jumped seven spots) 
“Ray Rice had 18 rushing attempts on Sunday, the second most carries for him this season, but he averaged just 1.7 yards for a total of 30. That is poor.”

MMQB.com, Peter King                : Not Rated
This is a top-15 list, and the Ravens didn’t make the cut.

The Baltimore Sun, Matt Vensel: Not Rated
This is a top-12 list, and the Ravens didn’t make the cut.

Quick Hits

  • “If you were wondering why veteran safety James Ihedigbo has emerged as one of the Ravens’ defensive leaders despite being with the organization for less than 15 months, go back and watch a replay of how he reacts to the Hail Mary play,” wrote Jeff Zrebiec. “Ihedigbo knew he made a mistake on the A.J. Green 51-yard, game-tying touchdown as time expired and didn’t need a reminder. However, when fired-up cornerback Jimmy Smith launched a verbal tirade in Ihedigbo’s direction on the sideline as the Ravens prepared for overtime, Ihedigbo didn’t return the verbal fire, get in Smith’s face or add to the scene. He took it, let cooler heads prevail and then went out and made a play to get the Ravens the ball back.” [The Baltimore Sun]
  • “Former Ravens wide receiver LaQuan Williams is facing a civil lawsuit in District of Columbia Superior Court accusing him of assault and battery stemming from an alleged altercation in June outside of a Washington strip club,” wrote Aaron Wilson. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Justin Tucker's clutch kicking can't be understated. “Did anyone actually worry when Justin Tucker trotted onto the field to attempt a game-winning kick in overtime against the Bengals?” asked Jason Butt. “Tucker has spoiled Ravens fans in the season and a half he's been with the franchise.” [Baltimore Beatdown]
  • @RavensSalaryCap: Unfortunately, Reed's benching and release likely screws Ravens out of a Comp pick next March.  Reed likely won't qualify now. … They should get 3 Comp picks, for losses of Kruger, Ellerbe and Cary Williams. [Twitter]
  • @ryanmink: Ed Reed isn't going to jump into an NFL coaching job this year. But I think he will at some point. [Twitter]
  • @JasonLaCanfora: In that case, Reed, if claimed would cost new team $411K in base, $240K to HOU $62.5K/game in bonus. That might be enough to preclude claim [Twitter]
  • @RavenManiac [Baltimore Beatdown]: If Reed is done after this season, he won't have to go into the HOF & once again be overshadowed by Ray Lewis. He should have spotlight. [Twitter]
  • @TorreySmithWR: Watching the news on what's going on in the Philippines hurts your heart...doesn't even look like real life it's crazy..praying for them [Twitter]
  • @CSteele32 [Ravens PR]: Beautiful sunset at the Under Armour Performance Center [Twitter]


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