Longtime Baltimore Raven and future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed left the Houston Texans facilities without a contract on Friday.
Reed, 34, was flown into Houston on Thursday via team owner Bob McNair’s private jet. Reed spent the day visiting with Texan executives and coaches. He later went to dinner with former University of Miami teammates Chris Myers and Andre Johnson.
Reed spoke highly of the Texans organization during his visit.
“This is classy, man,” Reed said. “This is southern hospitality. It’s a great feeling.”
The two parties remain heavily interested in each other, and contract negotiations will continue into the weekend.
Prior to visiting Houston, rumors had spread that the Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, and New England Patriots would be interested in signing Reed as well. However, Colts coach Chuck Pagano dismissed this idea after the team signed free-agent safety Laron Landry on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the 49ers appear to be pursuing safety Louis Delma, and the Patriots are currently hosting longtime Arizona Cardinal safety Adrian Wilson for a visit.
Reed’s lack of a contract at this time leaves hope that the nine-time Pro Bowler could return to Baltimore for his 12th NFL season. If Reed does not re-sign with Baltimore, the loss would be devastating for Super Bowl champion Ravens.
Following their championship, the Ravens made quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco the league’s highest paid player. Flacco signed an enormous six-year, $120.6 million deal. The fallout from his contract could prove to be debilitating for the Ravens.
Because of Flacco’s contract, the Raven’s have been forced to let key pieces of their Super Bowl team walk out the door. Star receiver Anquan Boldin was dealt to the 49ers for a 6th round draft pick. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbee, once viewed as a replacement for Ray Lewis, signed a five-year, $35 million contract with the Dolphins. Linebacker Paul Kruger left Baltimore to the tune of a five-year, $40 million contract with Cleveland. Starting safety Bernard Pollard was released on Thursday in order to make additional space in Baltimore’s salary cap.
To top it all off, future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis and starting center Matt Birk retired following the Raven’s Super Bowl win as well.
If Reed leaves Baltimore, an all-time great player will be added to this list of ex-Ravens. Regardless of whether Reed resigns or not, the Baltimore Ravens will be a very different looking team in 2013 than they were during last year’s championship season.
There is so much talk in the NFL about needing a franchise quarterback in order to win consistently in the league. The long-term success of teams led by quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning give credibility to this discussion.
For the Ravens, all they can do now is hope Flacco’s name is soon mentioned in the same category.