Ed Reed released by Texans in wake of shot at coaching staff
Just a day after his unwise comment, Reed has been released by the Texans. All but eliminated from playoff contention at 2-7, the Texans don't need an aging veteran sticking around just to complain about his coaching staff. The fact that the team was willing to eat $6 million in guaranteed money to kick Reed to the curb with two-and-a-half years remaining on his contract tells you all you need to know about what he was bringing to the table this season, as well as the Texans' vanishing playoff hopes.
Though he'll have to clear waivers first, Reed is expected to become a free agent on Wednesday. The former five-time Pro Bowler is simply not worth his current contract, which calls for a $412,000 base salary and additional $62,500 for each game he is active.
Reed will likely hit a free agent market where he won't to draw interest close to what he received a few months ago. Don't get me wrong, a future Hall of Fame safety with a Super Bowl ring can certainly be an asset from a locker room standpoint, but Reed's on-field contributions have been minuscule this season. After being eased in on a snap count when recovering from offseason hip surgery, Reed eventually played a full compliment of snaps (63-of-65 in Week 4). Since, however, he has been demoted to a strict third safety role, only entering the game in nickel packages. He played 32-of-63 snaps in Week 9, and 13-of-69 in Week 10.
The assumption everyone will make with Reed becoming a free agent is that there could be a reunion between he and the team he spent the first 11 years of his career with, the Baltimore Ravens. However, the Ravens showed almost no interest in Reed when he was a free agent during the offseason (I guess they were on to something), and reports are already saying that they are not considering claiming him off waivers. Though the Ravens ended up with a free agent bust at free safety in Michael Huff, rookie Matt Elam has been serviceable since Huff's release, and "serviceable" is much better than whatever you would call Reed's play this season.
Hall of Fame players who made a Pro Bowl as recently as a year ago don't often hang around on the market for too long, so Reed should find a new home shortly after clearing waivers. However, teams won't go flocking to him trying to outbid one another, and a reunion with the Ravens appears unlikely.
A few borderline playoff teams who could use a veteran presence on the back end include the Eagles, Bears, and Cowboys. The Eagles have the most cap space of the three teams, and the Cowboys have the least. The Panthers and Dolphins also have money to burn, but safety is not as big of a need for them. It will be interesting to see where the sharply declining Reed will end up next, and wherever it is could be where he wraps up his Hall of Fame career.