By Michael Parente
Word on the streets is the Houston Texans are about to release safety Ed Reed. Yes, that Ed Reed – the nine-time Pro-Bowler, former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Super Bowl champion and apple of Bill Belichick’s eye.
Turns out the three-year, $15 million contract Houston gave the 35-year-old Reed during the off season was not money well spent, unless you think he’s worth $478,218 per tackle, which roughly covers the $5 million in guaranteed money he collected this year, along with the $589,000 already paid by Houston in base salary, the $62,500 in roster bonuses for simply being active for seven weeks, and the $2 million advance the Texans gave him on his 2014 salary. Good luck recouping that one.
And yet it’s not just a performance issue with Reed; he appears to be somewhat of a malcontent, too. Shortly after Houston lost to Arizona on Sunday night, Reed said the Texans were “outplayed and out coached,” a haymaker launched at defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who took over head-coaching duties two weeks ago when Gary Kubiak collapsed during halftime of the team’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts. This probably isn’t too much of a stretch given that Phillips has always been lousy when asked to coach the entire team, not just the defense, but it’s hard to imagine anyone – even Ed Reed – throwing Belichick under the bus in New England and living to tell his grand kids about it.
Reed wasn’t exactly a choirboy in Baltimore, either; he and fellow safety Bernard Pollard reportedly led a near mutiny against coach Jim Harbaugh last season by bitching and moaning about the level of intensity of Harbaugh’s practices and his general treatment of players.
The Patriots have dealt with plenty of instigators and ball-busters through the years, but those ancillary characters had a little bit of a shelf life because they could perform. Corey Dillon stuck around for two more years because he rushed for more than 1,600 yards in his debut season with the Patriots in 2004. Unless the Patriots are getting the 2004 Ed Reed, the one who won the Defensive Player of the Year award with 78 tackles, three forced fumbles and nine interceptions, this probably isn’t worth the aggravation.
Perhaps Reed is one of those players who’s easy to admire when he’s not in your locker room, the sweater that looks great on the mannequin until you pull it over your fat stomach in the dressing room. He’s a far cry from the player who tormented the Patriots, and others, through the years, so if they’re going to make a move, they need to decide whether dealing with Reed and whatever baggage he brings with him is worth the time and money. There’s a chance Reed’s best is yet to come considering he missed all of training camp and the first two games of the regular season due to hip surgery, and yet there’s also the chance the new-and-improved, surgically-repaired Reed will forever be a shell of his former self.
The price tag, which would be roughly $400,000 in base salary owed to Reed this year, wouldn’t be a deal-breaker. The problem is the Patriots aren’t too high on the waiver-wire priority list, so the chances of him either being available before he clears waivers or clearing waivers entirely are slim. This might wind up being a pipe dream when it’s all said and done, but it’s one worth discussing given the state of New England’s secondary and the undying, heterosexual infatuation Bill Belichick has for the now-former Texans’ safety.
Support WBOB Sports