As the Houston Texans continue to haggle with the agent for veteran free safety Ed Reed after his visit Friday, the Super Bowl champion Ravens haven't closed the door on trying to retain the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
To characterize the situation as a true financial competition would be a bit of an overstatement, though.
The Ravens' tight salary-cap situation could preclude them from making Reed a major negotiating priority. Plus, the 34-year's old age, durability concerns and decline in range could work against a reunion with the Ravens.
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The Ravens would like to have Reed back, but not for $6 million annually and definitely not for the $7.2 million he made in the final year of his expired six-year, $44.5 million contract.
As for the Texans, a league source with knowledge of the situation characterized the Texans' initial three-year offer as low enough that a fast deal was unrealistic. The offer sheet averaged roughly $4 million annually, much less than the amount he's been seeking as Reed wanted to get inthe neighborhood of $6 million to $7 million annually on at least a two-year contract.
Talks are ongoing with the Texans and Reed's agent, David Dunn, who has kept Ravens officials informed of what's going on as both teams and Dunn attend the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.
So far, though, no other team has emerged as a serious suitor for the nine-time Pro Bowl selection. Reed has yet to schedule a visit with the San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts, who are coached by former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano and have signed LaRon Landry since the start of free agency and have Antoine Bethea under contract, and the New England Patriots.
Players for both the Ravens and Texans remain hopeful that Reed chooses their team, but it appears that the Texans are willing to commit more money to the nine-time Pro Bowl selection.
"Any team that's fortunate enough to get him is getting a Hall of Fame player," Texans quarterback Matt Schaub said Monday night at the Ed Block Courage award banquet at Martin's West. "He's one of the best if not the best safety to ever play the game and still in his prime. If you can add that kind of player, the leadership, the intensity he brings to his job, he's going to make the whole team better. It's the nature of the business. We'll see what happens."
"That's the business side of it," Smith said. "It's tough for a lot of people to understand, especially the fans. We'll see what happens. I hope he ends up back in Baltimore. I've been texting him, not about what's going on, but just talking to him and seeing how he's doing. We'll see.
"He always has a positive attitude. Fans are killing him on Twitter, but he's taking it in stride. He's enjoying it."
Former Ravens cornerback Chris Carr, who was in town to accept an award for San Diego Chargers teammate Quentin Jammer, is hopeful that Reed will conclude his career in Baltimore by signing one more contract with the Ravens.
"It's difficult," Carr said. "Once a player starts getting older, organizations don't want to invest in a player that's older. Ed Reed has been such a special player and he means so much, not only on the football field, but as a leader and teaching a lot of the young guys what to do in that secondary. Especially with Bernard Pollard leaving, I think it's really vital for the Ravens to sign him back.
"As a fan and a former Raven, I hope he stays here in Baltimore. It's unfortunate so many players who were part of the success are gone. It's the business and the salary cap doesn't give you too much wiggle room. It's weird because you can never predict what Ed's going to do."