Ed Reed was abruptly released by the Houston Texans on Tuesday, but the future Hall of Famer isn't done quite yet. The New York Jets announced on Thursday that they agreed to terms with the 35-year-old veteran safety:
We bolstered our secondary THURS, agreeing to terms with Ed Reed a day after the veteran S cleared waivers.— New York Jets (@nyjets) November 14, 2013
Reed spent the first 11 seasons of his illustrious NFL career in Baltimore, culminating in his first title when the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII last season. Here is Field Yates with the details of Reeds deal:
Ed Reed's one-year deal with the Jets is for the veteran's minimum. That'll pay him $380,000 for the rest of this season.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 15, 2013
Baltimore was clearly in a transitional period on defense with linebacker Ray Lewis retiring, so instead of re-signing with the Ravens or retiring like Lewis, Reed decided to sign with the Texans.
It seemed like a good fit since the Texans have boasted one of the league's best defenses over the past couple seasons, and they entered 2013 coming off two consecutive playoff appearances. Houston has performed well below expectations this season, however, and with just 16 tackles and no interceptions in seven games, the organization decided it was time to move on from Reed.
Before his release, Reed had very pointed comments directed toward the coaching staff following a loss to the Arizona Cardinals, saying the Texans were "outplayed and outcoached." Via Tania Ganguli of ESPN:
If you're watching the game, it's not no-brainers. Certain situations we have to get off the field. We need three-and-out. You have to also come out as an offense and move the ball. We can't go three-and-out and put your defense on the field that quick. That drive that they had, I'm looking at it like guys are a little fatigued because I know if you don't control the ball as much, offensively and defensively, you're going to get fatigued. They're going to get plays.
Eventually, they're going to figure out what you're doing if you're doing the same old things.
While a return to Baltimore would have been poetic, it can be argued that the Jets are the best fit for Reed. Jets head coach Rex Ryan served as the Ravens' defensive coordinator from 2005 through 2008, and he was a defensive line coach for the team from 1999 through 2004. So Reed is very familiar with Ryan's scheme.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Reed's relationship with Ryan certainly helped during the signing process:
Ed Reed and Rex Ryan were already simpatico, and Reed flew to NY last nite, had long meeting with GM John Idzik, impressed him....— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) November 14, 2013
Also, the Jets came away from Reed's physical feeling good about his ability to play at a high level:
Reed also underwent a lengthy physical this morning for the Jets and they're comfortable with his hip and health. Should practice today— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) November 14, 2013
Ryan talked about the deal after practice, and confirmed that Reed will play on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills but will not start (via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News):
Rex says Ed Reed will play, but not start, vs Bills on Sunday. #nyj— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) November 14, 2013
Ryan also talked about the decision to sign Reed and how he looked in his first practice with the team (via Chris Lopresti of WFAN, Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday and Brian Costello of the New York Post):
Rex just said they didn't consider Reed in the offseason because "financial commitment was too great." Now, they get him cheap. #NYJ— Chris Lopresti (@CLoprestiWFAN) November 14, 2013
Rex joked "It's only rumored that i pulled a hamstring" when he heard of Reed's release. "I immediately did go up top + talked to John."— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) November 14, 2013
Rex: "This had nothing to do with sentiment. We believe it will be a great signing for us." #nyj— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) November 14, 2013
Rex said it looked like Reed hasn't missed a beat in terms of remembering the defense #nyj— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) November 14, 2013
As for how Ryan expects Reed to impact his defense, he spoke about the former Raven's fit in New York (via Martin):
Rex said he didn't have to convince GM John Idzik to go along with the signing. "We believe that this player, Ed Reed, will help us." #jets— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) November 14, 2013
Rex: "We've had some issues playing the deep ball. Let them throw it there now." #reed— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) November 14, 2013
Reed also spoke to reporters about his release and signing with the Jets (via Martin):
After wearing No. 20 for his entire NFL career, Reed could don No. 22 with the Jets, according to Michael Fensom of the Star-Ledger:
Ed Reed is on the field at Florham Park. Stretching with new #jets teammates. Wearing No. 22, though that number may be temporary.— Michael Fensom (@mjfensom) November 14, 2013
Reed may not be in his prime any longer, but his instincts are second to none. He entered the season having been named to the Pro Bowl in seven straight seasons, and he has earned nine Pro Bowl nods over the course of his NFL career.
He is 10th on the all-time interceptions list with 61, and his seven interceptions returned for a touchdown are tied for 10th in NFL history as well.
With that said, one NFC scout told Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman that Reed is a shell of the player who dominated the league for so many years:
Text from NFC scout: "We re-watched some tape of Reed just the other day. He's done. Can't play. No speed."— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) November 14, 2013
Ryan disagreed with that sentiment during his press conference following the signing (via Mehta):
Rex Ryan on Ed Reed: "I would say it's a false statement that he can't play anymore." #nyj— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) November 14, 2013
Perhaps playing for Ryan and a Jets team that is in the thick of the AFC playoff race will revitalize Reed, though.
Whatever the case, there is little doubt that signing Reed is worth the risk from New York's perspective, as he could pay big dividends down the stretch.
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