According to ESPN, the Houston Texans are getting ready to part ways with their biggest offseason acquisition, safety Ed Reed.
While the exact reasoning behind the move is unclear, it's possible that there was some dissent regarding the way that Houston was using Reed. He has been having a relatively quiet season thus far on a defense that can't seem to stop anybody as of late. Granted, Reed is reaching the end of his Hall of Fame career, but he still has something left in the tank, so I'd be surprised to learn that the move was strictly performance based. Maybe he has a major injury that nobody knows about, but more than anything the move points towards Houston already looking ahead to next year.
Reed's release of course begs the question, should the Patriots try and pick him up?
The answer, in my opinion, is an resounding YES. Reed obviously isn't the long-term answer, but in an injury-riddled secondary missing many of its defensive leaders, signing a safety of Reed's caliber seems to be an absolute no-brainer. I'm sure there are those who will point to his age and a lack of production as reason enough to let the younger guys get some valuable reps and not have their progress slowed by a stopgap veteran, but I say nuts to that. The postseason is looming, and this team is going to need guys who have been there before who can step it up and show the more inexperienced guys how to mentally and physically prepare for the playoffs. Plus, there is absolutely no way that Bill Belichick won't find a way to maximize Reed's abilities; Bill's mancrush on Reed is well-documented and the feelings of respect seem to be mutual. Reed was definitely a bust in Houston, but I don't think he will be in New England. The biggest issue is his three year, $15 million dollar contract, which is very steep for a guy who isn't doing anything. But hey - contracts can be restructured for the chance of winning another Super Bowl, and the Pats can always cut him after this season. For depth and leadership if nothing else, I say put in a claim.
The problem, of course, is that it's unlikely that Reed is going to clear waivers, and New England has a fairly low waiver priority at the moment. There are plenty of teams in need of safety help, so the odds of Reed falling to the Patriots are slim. Still, to see Reed finish out his career on the Patriots, perhaps as that final piece needed to get them over the top, would be absolutely fantastic.