Nine-time Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed signed a free-agent contract with the Houston Texans, the latest key player to leave the Baltimore Ravens since they won the Super Bowl last month.
Texans General Manager Rick Smith announced the signing today in a press conference alongside Reed and team owner Bob McNair. Reed signed a three-year deal worth as much as $15 million, according to NFL Network.
“It’s awesome to go from a great franchise to another great franchise,” Reed, 34, said in the press conference. “I came here to win a championship and help guys with whatever it may be, on and off the field.”
Reed’s 61 career interceptions and 1,541 interception-return yards are the most among active National Football League players. The 2004 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year has scored nine defensive touchdowns and recovered 13 fumbles. He also is the only player in NFL history to score on a punt return, a blocked punt, an interception and a fumble recovery, according to ESPN.
Last season, Reed had a team-leading four interceptions and 58 tackles, his highest total in six years. He also had an interception in the team’s 34-31 Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
“Ed has had a major impact on our organization and our community,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in an e-mailed statement. “We will always be thankful for what we accomplished together.”
Baltimore signed quarterback Joe Flacco to a six-year, $120.66 million deal, the richest in NFL history, following the Super Bowl. The team, meanwhile, has lost Reed, cornerback Cary Williams, and linebackers Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe to free agency, and traded wide receiver Anquan Boldin to the 49ers.
Those losses are compounded by the retirement of linebacker Ray Lewis, who left the team after 17 seasons and 13 Pro Bowl appearances, and center Matt Birk, a six-time Pro Bowl selection. Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie and tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson are among the Ravens from last year’s team that are still free agents. Safety Bernard Pollard, the team’s leading tackler last season, signed with the Tennessee Titans after being cut by the Ravens.
“No Reed or Ray in Baltimore????? This season is gonna be weird,” Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith said on his Twitter account this week.
Team owner Steve Bisciotti said this week that, while he was disappointed he couldn’t retain some of those players, it’s something all teams go through. The Ravens are now $7.2 million under the league’s $123 million salary cap, according to the Baltimore Sun.
“Losing games and losing players that you admire and work hard for you are two difficult tasks,” Bisciotti said in a televised interview from the annual league meetings in Arizona. “If you didn’t get such a high from the victories, no one would subject themselves to that kind of disappointment.”
Drafted by the Ravens out of the University of Miami with the No. 24 pick in 2002, Reed spent his entire 11-year career in Baltimore, helping the Ravens to the playoffs seven times.
The Texans were 12-4 last year, the best regular-season finish in franchise history, and lost to the New England Patriots in the second round of the playoffs. The team allowed 20.7 points per game, fifth fewest in the American Football Conference, before losing safety Glover Quin and linebacker Connor Barwin to free agency.
Today’s move reunites Reed with Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, a teammate from Miami.
Reed is the latest multiple Pro Bowl selection to sign with a new team this offseason after staying with the franchise that brought him into the league.
Wide receiver Greg Jennings joined the Minnesota Vikings after seven years with the Green Bay Packers, running back Steven Jackson signed with the Atlanta Falcons after nine seasons with the St. Louis Rams and safety Dashon Goldson left the 49ers after six seasons to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Chicago Bears said this week that they were parting ways with four-time All-Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher after the two sides were unable to agree on a new contract.