Before longtime Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed signed with the Houston Texans, the widespread belief was that the Ravens were making a strong pitch to keep him in Baltimore. It turns out that might not have been the case.
Mike Preston of The Baltimore Sun reports Ravens head coach John Harbaugh wasn't interested in bringing back the veteran defender, despite all the speculation prior to Reed landing in Houston.
It was interesting to see how the national media made it seem like the Ravens were in a bidding war with Houston for former safety Ed Reed.
The Ravens made it appear that way out of respect for Reed, and it certainly put more money in Reed's pocket. But Ravens coach John Harbaugh wanted Reed back as much as he wants a root canal.
It was the perfect time for both parties to go their separate ways.
Reed went on to sign a three-year, $15 million contract with the Texans. The Ravens responded by inking Michael Huff to a deal of the same length, but for $9 million less. He's expected to slide into the same role Reed played.
It's unclear why Harbaugh didn't want one of his stalwart defenders back after winning a championship. Whether it was due to Reed's contract demands or his age (34), the coach apparently thought going in a different direction was the wise move.
Regardless, the Ravens defense will enter next season with a completely new identity. Reed and the retired Ray Lewis were key pieces of one of the league's best defensive units over the past decade. Both are now gone.
If Harbaugh truly had no interest in bringing Reed back into the fold, it shows the value of veteran leaders who understand the system might not be as high as it seems from the outside.
The switch from Reed to Huff isn't a major drop-off, and the Ravens are getting a player still in the middle of his prime. When you consider the money Baltimore saved by playing the market instead of giving in to Reed, it was probably the right business decision.
That said, it's still surprising to hear Harbaugh didn't want Reed back at all, especially given all the reports to the contrary before the safety signed with the Texans.
It's another example of the cruel NFL business. There's always another player ready to step in, no matter what legacy a star has built with a team.