Texans Release Safety Ed Reed: Should New England Patriots Make a Move?

Samer IsmailAnalyst IINovember 13, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 06:  Tight end Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers runs for a touchdown while being pursued by free safety Ed Reed #20 of the Houston Texans in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park on October 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers defeated the Texans 34-3.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Houston Texans released Ed Reed, announcing the move on Twitter:

The Houston Texans have released FS Ed Reed & placed RB Arian Foster on IR. #Texans

— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) November 12, 2013

This brings the nine-time Pro Bowler's time in Houston to a short, ignominious close.

This past Sunday, after the Texans lost to the Arizona Cardinals, Reed claimed that the Texans were "outplayed and outcoached," as ESPN reported.

It seems unlikely that, if the New England Patriots were to make a move for him, Reed would ever make such a comment about Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Belichick has long expressed his admiration for Reed, as reported by Peter May of the New York Times. Fox Sports reported that Reed returned the favor.

Even though at 35, Reed probably wouldn't be an every-down player, he could reduce the workload for rookie safety Duron Harmon, whose role will likely increase as a result of the wrist injury Steve Gregory sustained in the Patriots' Week 9 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

At the very least, he could serve as a mentor for Harmon and fourth-year safety Devin McCourty, who is quickly becoming one of the league's best safeties.

There is, of course, the question of whether Reed still has anything left in the tank at this point. Belichick and the Patriots staff should be able to answer that question based on Houston game film.

Unfortunately, since the trade deadline has passed, Reed must pass through the waiver wire. In other words, before teams can negotiate with Reed, every team has a chance to pick up his current contract. Field Yates of ESPN Boston tweeted what that would entail: 

A team claiming Ed Reed would owe him $412k + $62.5k for each game he is active. Team would also owe Texans $824k for Reed's salary advance.

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 12, 2013

So, if the Patriots were to claim him off waivers, it could cost them over $1.5 million:

Potential Patriots cap hit for Ed Reed
Remainder of 2013 salary (7/17 of $1,000,000)$411,765
Repayment of salary advance to Houston (7/17 of $2,000,000)$823,530
Per-game roster bonus (7 x $62,500)$437,500

While the Patriots can afford it—according to PatsCap.com, they are a bit more than $4 million under the cap for this season—that's a bit steep, especially if Reed is not going to be playing the majority of snaps if Steve Gregory returns to action.

Right now, the Patriots have one of the lowest positions on the waiver wire; they're tied with the New Orleans Saints, and ahead of only the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos.

Thus, the only reason to try and claim one of those players is if the Patriots think one of those other teams will put in a claim. According to OvertheCap.com, the Saints do not have enough room, and the Seahawks only barely enough; the Chiefs and Broncos could afford that $1.7 million cap hit.

Unless the Patriots both want Reed and fear the Broncos will put in a waiver claim, they probably will not file a waiver claim themselves.

If Reed clears waivers, expect the Patriots to make a play for him at a more team-friendly salary—one that will cost them less than $1 million for the remainder of the season. 


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