The Houston Texans decided to cut ties with disappointing veteran free safety Ed Reed, who can only be described as a major free-agent bust from the Texans perspective. While his instincts and experience certainly haven’t deteriorated (neither have his ball skills, though he can’t really show that anymore due to his lack of speed), he is no longer the same, rangy coverage safety he used to be. Not only has he lost a whole lot of speed in coverage, but he’s also a big liability in run defense nowadays. Sure he can tackle, but he can’t get downhill like he used to.
Still, the New York Jets decided to take a flier on the veteran, even as several other teams decided not to pursue him. The Jets felt that adding a veteran safety like Reed would help their squad, and it is a decent addition for the Jets. It’s definitely not a great decision and the whole “coach on the field” thing gets overblown, but Reed should help the Jets secondary by providing some veteran consistency off the bench. Reed is clearly not a starting-caliber player in this league anymore, but he’s a decent bench player if your secondary is very burn-prone (exactly the Jets description).
But if you have a secondary that is filled with young talent, has an elite starting FS who should never come off of the field, and your secondary is predicated upon run defense, then Ed Reed doesn’t make as much sense. Yes, the team I am describing is the New England Patriots (the free safety is obviously Devin McCourty), and they were wise not to sign Reed (they were heavily involved with the Reed rumor-mill last year, largely because Bill Belichick loves him). They don’t need a veteran, backup safety (they have enough leadership at the position with McCourty and Steve Gregory), and they certainly don’t need him to take snaps in place of McCourty. And being a coach on the field? Again, the Pats have enough leadership, and Belichick doesn’t necessarily need somebody to coach for him.
According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss and CBS Sports’s Jason La Canfora , the earlier reports that the New England Patriots were pursuing Ed Reed along with the rival New York Jets (and that Reed simply chose the Jets over the Patriots) are false. Both report that the Patriots didn’t show significant interest in Reed, so I’m guessing that they merely “checked in” on Reed as a matter of due diligence.
Click on the CBS report, though, because La Canfora reports something extremely interesting. Patriots star QB Tom Brady asked Ed Reed to play for the Patriots instead of “playing against” them, as he tried to recruit Reed through texts. The last time we heard about Brady recruiting players, it turned out to be false, and Brady usually recruits big-name veterans and friends. As Belichick and Robert Kraft stated before, they love Brady but know that Belichick is the one who makes the decisions. It’s interesting that Brady wanted Reed, and it also shows that Brady’s kick-slide is definitely a thing of the past.