Reed Deserves To Go Out However He Wants
We're all anxiously awaiting Ed Reed's explanation for leaving Baltimore.
But those close to him say he “agonized” over the decision.
No matter his reasoning, this much is true: One of the greatest safeties to ever play the game earned the right to finish his career how he sees fit.
"It is obviously a sad day for Ravens' fans and for good reason," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "Reed is one of the best players in franchise history and a sure bet Hall of Famer. For more than a decade, he has not only been one of the best Ravens but he's been one of the most entertaining to watch."
"There is a part of me that wished that Reed retired this offseason, that the final images of him on a football field would have been the safety dancing around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 30 minutes from where he grew up, and celebrating his first Super Bowl victory. But with how much he has meant to the NFL, the Ravens and the city, he deserves to go out however he wants."
Speculation On Why Reed's Leaving
"Only Ed knows what Ed is thinking" – a popular phrase in recent weeks.
That said, reporters speculate Reed's decision came down to three factors: 1) money, 2) a chance at another Super Bowl ring and 3) the Texans were more aggressive than the Ravens.
"So why isn't safety Ed Reed a member of the Ravens?" asked ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio. "It's a simple analysis. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Ravens had a price they were willing to pay Reed, and the Texans exceeded it.
"The Ravens applied a similar approach four years ago, when linebacker Ray Lewis became an unrestricted free agent. Unlike Reed, Ray found nothing better on the open market, so he returned."
The terms of Reed's deal were still being ironed out when news hit of his decision, so the exact numbers are still fuzzy, but CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora reported that the maximum value of the contract is $16 million for three years.
"That’s a] [very strong deal for an older safety, especially in this market," tweeted La Canfora.
In addition to offering a higher dollar figure, the Texans emphasized their ability to go on a Super Bowl run, especially with him on the roster. They believe he is the key piece to get them over the hump.
"Ed Reed's exit isn't a surprise," tweeted WBAL's Gerry Sandusky. "He traded two tickets to paradise for what he sees as a possible ticket to another Super Bowl shot."
Whether Reed can actually push Houston over the top is already being debated. CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman called the Texans' move to nab Reed “brilliant.” Freeman emphasized that he's not in line with conventional thinking that Reed has slowed and is simply cashing in on his legacy.
Freemans' colleague, Clark Judge, adamantly disagrees, saying Reed is a nice addition, but won't get Houston to the next level.
"Ed Reed was a difference maker once; he's not a difference maker now," Judge wrote. "Houston is about to find out.”
Despite having all the respect in the world for Reed, perhaps that's why the Ravens weren't as aggressively recruiting the soon-to-be-35-year-old veteran as the Texans.
"The #Ravens maintained all along that they were interested but there wasn't much of an indication that they were aggressively pursuing him," tweeted Zrebiec.
La Canfora said Ravens brass* *was "monitoring" the situation as opposed to putting firm offers on the table. He added that there was a certain value they set for Reed and they [add] weren't going to be as competitive.
"The Ravens' offseason blueprint has been clear and quite frankly, Reed, who turns 35 in September and who struggled last season, doesn't fit into that going forward," wrote Zrebiec.
"Now more than ever, this is a new era for the Ravens."
Reed $$$ Earmarked For Pass Rusher
Reed may not be a part of the Ravens' future blueprint – which appears to emphasize youth and speed.
But free agent safety Michael Huff, plus a young safety from the draft and an elite pass rusher could be a part of that blueprint.
The Ravens have already scheduled a visit with the former Raiders safety, according to The Sun's Aaron Wilson and ESPN's Adam Schefter. Huff is expected at the Under Armour Performance Center this week.
Huff, 30, has reportedly been considered the Ravens' contingency plan all along. He brings experience with seven NFL seasons, which could be coupled with a younger safety should the Ravens select one in the draft next month.
Wilson explained the Ravens have put in “plenty of time” studying the top safeties in this year's class. And in case you missed it, Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz gave BaltimoreRavens.com his take on five prospects that could be possibilities.
Huff and a rookie won't require the cash Reed was seeking.
So where might the savings be used? A pass rusher.
"T]he Ravens will bring in safety Michael Huff for a visit while [earmarking some of the money that might have gone to Reed to a pass rusher instead, which is a need (Baltimore has interest in Elvis Dumervil and Dwight Freeney, sources said, and, to a certain degree, Osi Umenyiora)," wrote La Canfora.
Dumervil Underwhelmed With Denver's Offer; Ravens Still In Mix
The Broncos made Elvis Dumervil an offer.
And* *Dumervil was underwhelmed.
"Two NFL sources said the three-time Pro Bowler wasn't pleased," wrote the Denver Post's Mike Klis.
The contract that was originally agreed to, but didn't get signed in time, was for $30 million over three years. The new offer "wasn't as lucrative" in total money, had no guaranteed money, but included a signing bonus, per Klis.
Both Dumervil and the Broncos are considering different options. And according to Wilson, the Ravens are still in the mix to land the 29-year-old veteran.
Klis reported that Dumervil may visit either the Ravens or the Falcons in the next 48 hours.
"He hopes to sign with a team by the weekend," Klis wrote. "The Broncos may not wait for him."
General Manager Ozzie Newsome already reached out to Dumervil's former agent to schedule a visit, reports Wilson, and still remains interested.
"The Ravens have nearly $8 million in available salary-cap space and could conceivably structure an offer to land Dumervil," wrote Wilson. "It's believed that Dumervil's preference is to remain with the Broncos, but the Ravens do have a connection to the 5-foot-11, 260-pound outside linebacker-defensive end.
"When Dumervil led the NFL with 17 sacks in 2009, his position coach was Ravens linebackers coach Don 'Wink' Martindale. Martindale has vouched for Dumervil's skills and work ethic."
Newsome Next Alabama AD? Not Now
Alabama's athletic director stepped down from his post yesterday, triggering the question: Does Newsome have any interest in returning to his Crimson Tide alma mater?
It's a valid question considering Newsome's love for the school, but La Canfora reports that while close friends believe Newsome would return someday, that day hasn’t come yet.
Per Wilson, when Ozzie was asked about the vacancy, he simply replied: "I already have a great job."
- Don't underestimate the dismantled Ravens, says Hensley. "Sure the Ravens don't look like a playoff team. Their recent history, however, says otherwise. Two years ago, the Ravens lost eight starters, including wide receiver Derrick Mason, tight end Todd Heap, nose tackle Kelly Gregg and both starting cornerbacks. Baltimore had less than a month to fill those voids because of the NFL lockout that year. The result: The Ravens went 12-4 and won the AFC North. … [K]nowing how quickly the Ravens can rebuild, it would be foolish to write off the Ravens in March." [ESPN]
- @anquanboldin: Finally made it out here to the @49ers facility and am now an official member of the Niners. Time to get acclimated to my new team. [Twitter]
@TorreySmithWR: No Reed or Ray in Baltimore????? This season is gonna be weird [Twitter]
@MichaelOher: Believe in our guys up stairs we will be back next year!!! #ravensnation [Twitter]
- @jeffzrebiecsun: Sure would be interesting if scheduling conflict gets worked out and Ravens open against Ed Reed and the Texans at home. [Twitter]
- @jasonlacanfora: On a personal note, as a lifelong Baltimorean, was pretty special seeing Ed Reed's career at close range. Few players ever more fun to watch [Twitter]
- @pboulware: I hate to see the Ravens [lose] Ed Reed. One of the games best. [Twitter]
- @markviviano: At WJZ reviewing Ed Reed's 2002 press conf after draft. He declined to touch Lombardi Trophy. Says he'll touch one when he wins it. He did. [Twitter]
- @gerrysandusky: Ed Reed is one of the most enigmatic players I've ever been around. Brilliant, moody, likable, insightful, standoffish, unpredictable. [Twitter]
- Here's a good read written during the Ravens' Super Bowl run about Reed’s addiction to football. [FoxSports.com]
- In reference to the picture to the right … @untouchablejay4 [Terrell Suggs]: "THE BOND BETWEEN BROTHERS IS ONLY AS STRONG AS THE SWORD THAT DEFENDS IT!" [Twitter]