That's the question many people are asking after the team decided against using its franchise tag on Monday, meaning Reed will now hit the free-agency market unless he and the Ravens can agree to a contract extension.
UPDATE: Tuesday, March 5, at 12 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp
Once again, Reed has asserted that he would like to return to the Ravens, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com:
Albert Breer @AlbertBreer
Texted with Ed Reed last night. He still hadn't talked with Ravens, but wants to be back. Ozzie Newsome is in FL at comp committee meetings.3/5/2013, 4:41:33 PM
---End of update---
As of now, however, Reed would like to remain in Baltimore. He said as much on the NFL Network's NFL AM on Monday morning (via Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald):
Here's what he said when asked if the Patriots would have won a Super Bowl with him on the roster:
''They win two (Super Bowls). At the Super Bowl, I was asked if I would play for Coach Belichick and my answer was: 'What player wouldn't play for Coach Belichick?' He is a good football coah, has a great mind for football. I met Coach Belichick at a Pro Bowl. He is a great guy, a great competitor and seems to understand his players. I was just asked the quesion at the time (but ) I am a Raven, plan on being a Raven. I couldn't see myself anywhere else, but if it happens, I am a football player. I can adapt to any situation.''
The mutual admiration between Belichick and Reed is nothing new, nor are the links between Reed and the Patriots this offseason.
In late February, Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe wrote, "However, it can’t be discounted that the team really has other plans at safety—league sources believe the Patriots will try for Ed Reed of the Ravens at about $5 million per season."
Reed may be 34 years old, but the man can still play, and there promises to be a number of suitors for his services should he hit the market.
And linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is likely to be the next priority for the Ravens, according to Kareem Copeland of NFL.com, so Reed's desire to remain in Baltimore might not be reciprocated by the Ravens. At the very least, expect Reed to explore the market.
But for the most part, the talk about which teams will have interest beyond the Patriots is speculation.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com believes the Indianapolis Colts will try to sign Reed, the team other than New England most often linked to Reed. Head coach Chuck Pagano recruited Reed to the University of Miami and was the defensive coordinator in Baltimore, and the two are very close.
Beyond that, it's a matter of connecting the dots. If there is a team out there that needs safety help, will look to address the need in free agency rather than the draft and doesn't mind bringing on a veteran, you can bet they'll at least inquire about Reed's interest.
Still, the most likely scenario is that Reed will hit the market, won't get blown away with a deal and will return to the Ravens. It seems appropriate that a player like Reed should retire in Baltimore. Outside of Ray Lewis, who is more recognizable as a Raven than Reed?
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