Many speculated- for good reason- that the New England Patriots will sign Ed Reed if he hits the open market, and count Sports Illustrated’s NFL Insider and columnist Peter King as the next guy who believes the Patriots will sign the Baltimore Ravens star safety and future Hall of Famer.
Patrick Chung is set to hit the free agent market, and I doubt he is kept by the Patriots. Chung is a decent safety who hits hard, plays the run well, and has the qualities of a leader, but he isn’t the best coverage safety out there and is often injured. I think Chung’s struggles as a coverage player are somewhat overstated (Steve Gregory is worse in coverage), but Chung will likely be gone since he’s the one who is set to be a free agent and has plenty of health concerns.
Ed Reed, on the other hand, is still good in coverage even as a soon-to-be 35-year-old, but he does struggle in run defense. Age has gotten to him with regards to stopping the run, but the Patriots won’t mind that drop-off since coverage is more important for this team right now. The Pats front seven is one of the best in the league against the run, and Devin McCourty is no slouch against the run as a free safety either.
Peter King said on NBC’s Pro Bowl pregame show that Reed will be allowed to “test the free agent market” and that Bill Belichick will “swoop in and sign him” (as written in the piece on PFT by Mike Florio).
Reed and the Patriots is a match that makes sense due to the Patriots need for a safety who is very good in coverage, a safety with leadership qualities to replace Chung, and also the fact that Bill Belichick loves Reed.
Now let’s just hope King ends up being right and that Reed ends up hitting the free agent market instead of re-signing with the Ravens.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.