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Three thoughts on possibility of Ed Reed joining Patriots

11.12.13 at 3:56 pm ET
By
Ed Reed

Ed Reed

The possibility of Ed Reed with the Patriots is interesting on a number of levels. The depth of the friendship and the history between the former Pro Bowl defensive back and Bill Belichick is well-documented (check out this story and this story for some background), so much so that it was a small surprise to see him not sign with New England when he was a free agent this past offseason. And now that the safety has been cut loose by the Texans — ending a messy relationship — the question arises again.

While it makes sense from a surface perspective for the Patriots to at least kick the tires on Reed, there are a few important things to keep in mind when considering the case of Reed as a Patriot.

1. Reed has to go through the waiver process, which would make it difficult to him to make it to the Patriots. The team with the worst record gets the initial crack at him, and if they pass, then the next team in line gets their shot. At 7-2, the Patriots are near the back of the line with the third-best record in the league when it comes to the waiver process, so getting to Reed would mean a lot of other teams taking a pass. On the surface, there are a few interesting matches for him via waivers, including the possibility of a reunion with his old defensive coordinator Rex Ryan with the Jets. In addition, a reunion with his old Ravens team could also be a possibility, as well as the Colts and Saints.

2. While the Patriots could use some depth in the secondary, Reed and Devin McCourty fundamentally play the same position. There is some positional versatility in place — McCourty initially made his bones in the NFL as a corner before switching to safety, and has fundamentally played some corner this year when the occasion has called for it. In addition, he could be an option when it comes to nickel and sub-packages. At the same time, there might be some positional redundancy there, especially when you’re talking about Reed taking snaps away from someone who is arguably playing at a Pro Bowl level. He would add short-term depth, as Steve Gregory is on the shelf with a thumb injury for the next few weeks, but what happens when Gregory returns?

3. Does he have anything left in the tank? While there is a debate over how he was used in Houston and whether or not the Texans were maximizing his talents properly, the question is a legitimate one. The 35-year-old looked gassed at times at the end of last season, and while he’s been able to get over on smarts many times over the last few seasons, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that this could mark the end of the road for the five-time All-Pro, who is almost certainly a Hall of Famer.

One more thing worth adding to the conversation: the Patriots have games against the Ravens and Texans left on the schedule — two of Reed’s old teams — and you have to imagine that while there’s been some changes in personnel and scheme, he would certainly be an excellent sounding board when it comes to preparation.

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