In Ed Reed’s first press conference as a Houston Texan, he explained that the main reason the three-year, $15 million deal was not finished sooner was that he had to take his son to his nephew’s birthday party over the weekend.
These past few months seem to have been all about partying for the 11-year veteran after winning the Super Bowl, stirring yet another celebration in the front office and locker room of the Texans organization.
“It is truly a great day for our franchise,” Houston General Manager Rick Smith said during Reed's press conference. “I am truly thankful that this deal came together. I’m thankful and excited about Ed’s contributions to our football team, to our community. I’m excited to watch him and welcome him into our family.”
Smith and CEO Bob McNair immediately made plans to sign Reed after free safety Glover Quin signed a five-year deal with the Lions, sending a private jet to Baltimore for Reed’s visit to Houston on March 14.
Reed must have appreciated the Southern hospitality. And the $15 million.
The Texans worked out a fair deal, not overstepping with a huge contract that comes with the risk of signing a player toward the end of Reed's career. Reed, in return, can’t complain with $5 million guaranteed and the opportunity to play three more years in the NFL.
That’s better than what Brian Urlacher is getting.
The fact that Reed’s contract is for three seasons gives a glimpse at the timetable of hope Rick Smith and Bob McNair have on winning a Super Bowl. This is a team that has been improving incrementally since 2010, and the signing of Ed Reed might be the final piece in getting them there.
Having played in 90 percent of the games in his career, Reed offers stability to a defense that was plagued by the injury of Brian Cushing a season ago. Reed hasn’t missed a game since 2010 and played through a strained MCL in Super Bowl XLVII, recording an interception and a game-saving tackle.
The 34-year-old safety offers experience and leadership to a defense whose starters’ average age was 27 last season (younger than four out of the top five defenses of 2012). What better to help reinforce the idea of winning a championship than the addition of a player who just learned how to get there?
He will be reunited with former teammate Andre Johnson, with whom he won a national championship for the Miami Hurricanes in 2002. The link of leadership between the offense and defense will help keep goals in mind when inner-team rivalries begin during training camp, when starting jobs are at risk.
With the draft coming up, safety is no longer as big a necessity. But with talent such as Tyrann Mathieu available, it wouldn’t be surprising for the Texans to draft a player in the later rounds to take the reins at safety after benefiting from the mentorship of a future hall of famer.
Nevertheless, the elite defense the Texans have been striving toward almost seems complete. The secondary is as strong as it ever has been, the linebacking core will return to its full threat with Cushing back in the lineup and J.J. Watt and Antonio Smith are returning to hold up the front line.
Playing in the Super Bowl is the goal for the Houston Texans, and they may just get there with the help of a player who instead of hanging up the gloves has decided to go for a few more rounds.