And just like that, Ed Reed is now officially a Free Agent.
As of 4 PM today, the NFL waiver deadline came and went without anyone putting in a claim for the Hall of Fame safety. Because of that, Reed is now free to sign with any team he wants.
And that team should be the New England Patriots.
One of the biggest knocks against putting in a claim on Reed was how much he was going to cost; no matter how you slice it, he isn't the player he used to be and won't be the game changer that he was in Baltimore. To claim Reed off waivers would have meant that the Patriots would have been on the hook for the remainder of his 2013 salary along with compensation money to the Houston Texans - roughly $1.6 million for seven weeks of work. That's a lot of money for not a lot of production, and it was likely that price tag that kept teams away.
However, now that Reed is a Free Agent, he can sign with another team for significantly less money while having the opportunity to play for a contender. I'm on record saying that New England should aggressively pursue Reed, and the move makes more sense now than ever. It's his chance to make a run for another Super Bowl, the mutual respect between player and coach is well-documented, he will have the opportunity to make an immediate impact both on and off the field, and the Patriots will be able to get him for relatively little money. The only real obstacle at this point is another team offering him more to play for them, as New England likely already has a price in mind and won't be straying from it, but I'd like to think that there are currently only three or four teams that Reed would even want to play for at this point; the Patriots have to be on that list.
This defense needs two things very badly right now: quality depth and veteran leadership. Ed Reed provides both in spades. Make it happen, Bill.