|Both Ed Reed and Randy Moss are set to be free agents this spring. (US Presswire)|
Ed Reed is arguably the Ravens' best defensive player. In six days, he very well may have played his last game for the team that drafted him in 2002. But he sounds like retirement isn't an option, which leads to the obvious question: Where will he play next season?
|The home of the Super Bowl|
The Ravens would love to have him back, but with Joe Flacco and Cary Williams in the last year of their rookie deals, the club has more immediate concerns. And that brings us to the "You knew it was coming" portion of this post: Don't be surprised if coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots make a run for Reed should he hit free agency.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King said Sunday (via ProFootballTalk)the Patriots might be in the Ed Reed business, and Belichick would be leading the charge.
It makes perfect sense; Belichick is a huge Reed fan, but more than that, he's not afraid to take fliers on great players on the wrong side of 30. Former safety Rodney Harrison is one example. He arrived in New England in 2003 after nine years in San Diego, and helped solidify the Pats defense on the way to two Super Bowls. By any measure, Reed is a better player, and New England's secondary is in desperate need of some stability.
Another example: Randy Moss, who was traded to New England before the 2007 season after two uninspiring years in Oakland and proceeded to go off. In Moss's first season, he caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns. Nearly three years later, Belichick shipped Moss to the Vikings, and after a year out of football in 2011, Moss signed with the 49ers in the offseason.
Now Moss reportedly would like to play one more season and ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss thinks a New England reunion might not be out of the question. Reiss notes Moss has been a model teammate in San Francisco and accepted a reduced role in the offense. Then there's relative the production:
The Patriots' equivalent to Moss in terms of No. 3 role this past season was Deion Branch, who played almost the same percentage of snaps as Moss. He is also a free agent (key stats: 16 catches, 145 yards, 0 TDs).
In terms of each receiver's skill set at this stage of their careers, one could make the case that Moss's vertical presence would be a better fit with the Patriots next season (the vertical element has been lacking since Moss's departure). If the Patriots could be assured that they'd be getting the Moss locker-room presence of 2007 and 2012 and not the Moss of 2010, perhaps it would be an option they'd consider in a reshaped receiver corps that will also likely include an infusion of youth.
The Pats need to add depth in the secondary and at wide receiver and Reed and Moss could be two options. Whether it happens is another matter, but Belichick's track record for getting the most out of players who are thought to be over the hill has been impressive.
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