Last one to leave Baltimore turns out the lights.
The Ravens were in a bidding war against Houston to retain Ed Reed. They’ve lost oh so many battles during the opening week of free agency, and the burn from this one won’t heal for a while. Ray Lewis left on his own terms, and he didn’t have to play in another uniform, or even entertain that blasphemous thought. Reed? Not so much.
Jason La Canfora is reporting that Reed has finalized a contract with the Texans. Mere minutes after Brian Urlacher’s Bears career abruptly and officially concluded, another long-time defensive stalwart who’s spent his entire career (11 years) in one place is moving on too.
The terms are slowly trickling out. So far we know that Reed has signed a two-year deal, and Aaron Wilson from the Baltimore Sun reports that he may be receiving as much as $7 million in guaranteed cash. We’ll wait on the base salary, but that guaranteed money alone was likely more than enough to pry Reed from Baltimore. As La Canfora notes, there was widespread speculation that his per year salary would only be in the $4 million range, hypothetical math that leads to $8 million over the course of this short-term deal.
So yeah, if the Texans could guarantee $7 million right away, Reed was theirs. He’ll replace Glover Quin, the safety who left for Detroit, and although Reed may be aging, he’s not fading. Yet.
He’s played a full 16-game season for two straight years now, and he had four interceptions during the Ravens’ championship campaign with 16 passes defensed, the latter number finishing one short of tying a career high. Our tape guru Alen Dumonjic broke down the hall of famer’s game prior to the Super Bowl, and wrote these glowing words about the Texans’ latest purchase:
Reed’s combination of instincts and range is arguably the best the league has ever seen at his position. He’s always around the football, and it seems that the football always ends up in his hands for a game-breaking turnover. His range is otherworldly, as he unfathomably covers a seemingly impossible amount of ground. And he’s the master at baiting quarterbacks into highly questionable throws.
The Ravens now add Reed to their defensive gutting that already included Lewis, Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe, Cary Williams, and Bernard Pollard. That’s six defensive starters gone from a team that was celebrating a championship just over six weeks ago, in addition to Anquan Boldin on the other side of the ball. Charles Woodson still lingers on the open market as a fallback option, but otherwise there will be some difficult decisions made early in the draft with multiple glaring holes to fill, and the Ravens on the clock at the very end of the first round.
Is middle linebacker the priority with Lewis and Ellerbe gone ? (Manti Te’o?) Or is safety a greater need now? (Kenny Vaccaro or Matt Elam?) There are 36 days left to answer about 36 questions.