As I write this, the free-agent safety is in Houston, where the
Money will mean something, too, because money often means respect in the
So how much respect is Reed looking for today?
According to my colleague Aaron Wilson, Reed is looking for $6 million worth of respect a season. And the Texans, who lost starting free safety
Reed could give the
One could make the argument that the Ravens owe it to Reed to make it happen considering all that he has given to the organization. Reed is an iconic, game-changing player (and now a champion), though his impact on the outcome of games is probably as minimal as ever. For years, he recklessly threw his body around the field, and the injuries he suffered while doing so explain why he reluctantly throws his body around today.
One could also make the argument that they owe it to the fans to keep Reed, especially with
But if you strip away the nostalgia -- which I know is not easy after seeing Reed dance down the streets of Baltimore with the Lombardi Trophy just a few weeks ago -- giving Reed $6 million a year might not match what he will bring to the table.
Remember, this isn't about what he has done, but what he will do.
Last season, Reed started all 16 games, made 58 tackles and picked off four passes, bringing his career interception total to 61. He was still a plus defender in coverage, and grades from Pro Football Focus back that up. It’s also fair to point out that star quarterbacks like Manning and New England’s
Common sense suggests that Reed's range and production will continue to decline as he passes 35. It happens to everyone.
Still, I am already on the record as saying that Reed should have been the team’s top offseason priority behind re-signing quarterback
The first factor was leadership, as he was just as respected in the locker room as Lewis was and with so many new faces to come on defense, his ability to get everyone lined up before the snap shouldn't be overlooked.
The other main factor was money. We knew Ellerbe and Kruger were going to get paid. Ellerbe got $7 million a year in Miami and Kruger got about $8 million a year from Cleveland, salaries the Ravens could not match. I figured Reed would command much less and could be re-signed with a reasonable one- or two-year contract.
But if Reed is really looking for $6 million a year, that’s a lot for Reed the player. To keep Reed the icon, the Ravens will have another tough decision to ponder, one I’m thankful
Maybe he was just putting on his poker face, but Reed sure sounds like a man who is prepared to move on.
"It's been a great ride," Reed, asked about the possibility of leaving the only NFL team he has played for, told The
It's a tough business for both sides of this relationship, which is much more personal than others. If the Ravens hope to keep Reed in Baltimore, they will really have to show him they want him, respect him, and need him.