Once Ed Reed’s contract with the Baltimore Ravens is up after this season, he will be one of the hottest free agents on the market. Of course, he could chose to remain in Baltimore or even retire with Ray Lewis (if he actually does retire), but all speculation is that he will be heavily pursued by New England. Any Patriots fan should be excited at the prospect of signing Reed, even at his age he is still one of the best safeties to ever play the game and certainly would instantly upgrade the Pats secondary. Some comments Reed made at media day this week should be seen as encouraging for the possibility of him becoming a Patriot:
“Oh yeah, man, I could definitely play for Coach Belichick,” Reed said. “He is a great coach. I’m sure he can help me to expand my football knowledge even more as a player and as a coach. So if I’m ever able to be around him, just like I was at the Pro Bowl, it’s huge.”
More on Belichick: “It’s the reason why I wear my sweater cut off a little bit,” Reed said. “He’s the first guy I saw like, ‘That’s cool.’ You know, that’s cool. He cuts those sweater sleeves, and he’ll be comfortable. So there’s a reason why. Most people will tell you around the facility that’s how I look. It’s just a blessing to even have met (and) to know coach Belichick.”
While Reed did make some clarifying comments more recently that say he would like to return to the Ravens, I think Ray Lewis retiring and the opportunity to play for Belichick will be too much for him to pass up. If he doesn’t win a ring next weekend, a move to New England will give him the best chance at getting one before he retires. For Belichick and all Patriots fans this would be a dream come true. The Patriots defense hasn’t been a dominant force since their dynasty days in the early 2000’s and it’s no coincidence that’s the last time they won a Super Bowl. The addition of Reed would help them return to that form and help eliminate the need for a perfect game from Brady and the offense every week in order to win games.
The biggest obstacle preventing the Reed/Patriots marriage is money, since he will be expecting a large contract. To do this, the Patriots will likely have to pass on re-signing another big free agent because of salary cap space. The costly free agents in New England’s radar are Reed, Sebastian Vollmer, Wes Welker, and Aqib Talib. At the risk of being labeled a “Welker hater” again, I think the Pats should pass on Welker and use that money to sign Reed. There’s no way they’ll let Vollmer walk away since he is one of the best offensive lineman in the game and protecting Brady should be priority #1. Talib was biggest impact player on the Patriots defense last season and letting him walk would leave a huge gap in the secondary, not to mention letting him go while signing Reed would be counter productive. So that leaves Welker as the odd man out. Let him walk and re-sign Edelman in his place or look at other cheap WR free agents.