Barring an unforeseen change of heart, Reed will officially fill the shoes of departed safety Glover Quin in the Houston secondary.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports originally broke the agreement Wednesday afternoon, and John McClain of the Houston Chronicle later confirmed that a deal had been reached. An official announcement is expected to come Thursday.
John McClain @McClain_on_NFL
texans reached an agreement in principle tonight on a contract for Ed Reed. Should be official Thursday.2013-3-21 03:49:03
The signing should be a big win for the Texans.
Securing Reed quickly became Houston's No. 1 priority once Quin bolted from Houston for the Detroit Lions early in free agency. A 48-game starter over the last three seasons, Quin recorded two interceptions and forced two fumbles for the 12-win Texans in 2012.
Houston simply couldn't match the five-year, $25 million deal Quin eventually received from Detroit.
However, snagging Reed now might make Houston better off, at least in the short term.
The veteran Reed, despite turning 35 years old later this year, brings playmaking skills and winning leadership to a Texans defense that took some lumps toward the end of last season. Houston arguably lacked both assets in 2012.
Reed will step in as an unquestioned starter at free safety in Wade Phillips' defense.
According to Texans owner Bob McNair (via NFL.com), Reed was the ideal candidate to replace Quin—mostly thanks to the aforementioned ball skills.
Ed Reed is a terrific fit for us because we've got some DBs who are really good at playing the run, good at covering. We don't have the ball skills that I'd like for us to have. We play all of the top quarterbacks in the league, and we needed a free safety back there that had some outstanding ball skills.
Few safeties in the history of the NFL have been as prolific at turning over opposing offenses as Reed, who has 61 career regular-season interceptions and nine more in the postseason.
Reed also has the most interception return yards in NFL history, and he remains the only player to ever score on an interception, fumble, blocked punt and punt return.
While the cash-strapped Texans failed to lock up Quin long term, finally winning over Reed adds an obvious replacement who can provide the kind of big plays and leadership Houston needed on defense.