Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed continues to generate interest on the free-agent market, and is even being wooed in style.
The former Defensive Player of the Year reportedly traveled with Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith in owner Bob McNair's private jet for a team visit.
Reed, who has spent his entire 11-year career with the Ravens, appears to have played his last game with Baltimore. Staying with the club would mean a less lucrative contract, and Reed may not recognize much of his defensive unit with Ray Lewis now retired, and Bernard Pollard recently released. Baltimore also let top performers Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe walk via free agency.
Reed reportedly hired a new agent, according to CBS Sport’s Jason La Canfora, and has told Baltimore he is seeking other options.
Houston was ranked seventh in total defense, but only 16th against the pass last season, with the 14th most interceptions. In the playoffs, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady torched the Texans' secondary for 344 yards and three touchdowns.
As it turns out, the Patriots are also in need of a proven veteran safety like Reed. CBS Sports also tied the Patriots to Reed, with he and head coach Bill Belichick sharing mutual respect. New England had the fourth-worst pass defense in the league last year, and let up an astonishing 74 pass plays of 20-plus yards, by far the worst in the NFL.
The Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts are also in play to land Reed, considering their glut of cap space and history with Reed. Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano was a secondary and defensive coordinator in Baltimore for four seasons, and was on the coaching staff at the University of Miami during the first of Reed's two seasons there.
The Colts have roughly $35 million cap space, and the Dolphins have about $36 million.
The agent switch also led to speculation that Reed may join the San Francisco 49ers. The NFC champions lost safety Dashon Goldson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for five years and $41.25 million, which could only add fuel to San Francisco's alleged interest in Reed.
However, the 49ers only have about $4.2 million in cap space, meaning Reed might not get the type of big-time salary his expertise and success typically demands.