ED REED: The Ravens Conundrum

Reed Harbaugh SB XLVII

On Monday at 4PM the bell will sound signaling the start of the NFL’s free agency period. That also coincides with the time when all teams must be in salary cap compliance.

Big names will hit the street.

One of those big names is Ed Reed and for the Ravens the All World safety represents a conundrum for Ozzie Newsome & Company.

Like any negotiation, there’s a process – a natural ebb and flow, pull and tug where both sides try to assess value by weighing the plusses and minuses.

Players are usually represented by agents who have their own, and of course their clients’ best interests in mind. But for the moment, Ed Reed is representing himself.

And that’s a problem.

Ed as we all know is a volatile guy with wide mood swings. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a really good guy but when the topic is his career, Cybil comes to mind. One day he’s retiring; one day he’s planning on playing another 5 seasons.

Let’s hope it’s the former!

Here’s the way this will play out…

The Ravens will encourage Ed to test the market just as they did when Ray Lewis was an unrestricted free agent. Now we’ve all heard how much Bill Belichick loves Ed. It wouldn’t shock me if an Ed Reed Fathead decorates the wall in Coach Hoodie’s office. But really it isn’t New England’s style to pay top dollar for aging superstars.

The Colts may look to land Reed. After all he and Chuck Pagano go back to Ed’s high school days when the Indy head coach recruited the then promising teenager. But what is Pagano willing to pay Ed?

Reed isn’t hurting for money. Those who know him best consistently insist he spends modestly given his means and really doesn’t have to play anymore to support his family.

So when Reed sits down at the bargaining table, representing himself, he’ll be negotiating more for pride than for the zeros to the left of the decimal point. He still sees himself as elite – not just among safeties, but among all players and he’ll look to be paid accordingly.

Who is going to pay Ed, a player in the November of his career, who can’t tackle and one who doesn’t make the impact plays he once did, more than the $8M he earned in 2012?

Are you hearing that 49ers’ chant in your head right about now?


I remember back during training camp last summer, Ed took the field and enthusiastically exclaimed just before practice, “I hate my job but I love football!”

When reality sets in and Ed discovers that he will no longer be paid as one of the game’s elites, he may hate his job even more, ultimately retiring.

And from where I sit, I hope that that is exactly what happens if he can’t wrap his mind around a short-term cap friendly deal with the Ravens.

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

8 Raves on “ED REED: The Ravens Conundrum

  1. Debbie on said:

    Personally, I don’t see things the same way. Forget about whether anyone else wants him. I put this in much simpler terms. WHY whoudl Ed Reed WANT to play anywhere BUT Baltimore? He IS the elder Statesman, now that Ray Lewis has retired. He is BELOVED by everyone in the State. He is LOVING all the cool Post-Super Bowl stuff, like going to the Oscars Red Carpet and rubbing elbows with George Clooney and the like. If he went ANTWHERE else, he would be another guy on the sideline. ED REED is bigger than being another guy on the sideline. You were right about one thing: He doesn’t NEED more money. I think, if HE thinks about it, it will NEVER BE BETTER than Playing in Baltimore! And at the end of the week, he will be a RAVEN!

  2. Fran the Fan on said:

    Ed’s career has now evolved to where is he is a poster boy for Ozzie’s “Right Player, Right Price” mantra. Newsome knows exactly what Reed is worth and for how long. All it will take to bring #20 back in 2013 is for Ed to realize the same thing. He might have to take a ‘Tour de NFL’ for that to happen.

  3. Ravenwoman on said:

    The only attribute Ed Reed has to offer at this point in his career is his ability to set the backfield and coach up young players. While that is a valuable ability to have, we are also minus one player on the field when he is playing. He was very fortunate salary wise to be playing here in Baltimore as oppose to other cities. Do you really think anyone would have paid Ed Reed $7 million last year for his overall production?

    The problem with the Ravens and their fans is that we worship our players long after their best days are behind them. I like the way New England (and now Pittsburgh) is doing business by releasing, trading or getting rid of players a year or two early, rather than a year too late. With Ed Reed, the time is right to part ways. He has made his money, has a Super Bowl ring, and still has his health. Why gamble when your bucket list is complete? I respect Ed Reed for all of the past years he has given to the Ravens, but with Joe Flacco taking up 15% or more of the cap going forward, the Ravens are going to have to economize in other areas. Steve B. said last year that the Ravens are going to pay for players who are ascending in their careers. Ed Reed does not meet that definition and sadly it is time to say goodbye.

    • Paul on said:

      My thought exactly Ravenswoman. The moment I heard Flacco’s contract I knew Reed was gone. Phenomenal player, maybe the best Raven to ever to suit up.

  4. Jerry B on said:

    I’d like to see him stay a Raven if possible. He’s still a ball hawk even if his tackilng has diminished and he’s still a leader in the locker room, but the business end of football may dictate that his playing days are over…..at least in Baltimore!

  5. HollywoodHeiz on said:

    ….worst nightmare Thursday night opener Sept 5 at home. Number 20 for Patriots has a pick six against the highest paid player in the NFL to seal the game. As the fans yell REEEED !!! Pay the man!

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