Ed Reed certainly stirred the pot a little bit when he announced during the Ravens Super Bowl week that he could see himself playing for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. If the Patriots did sign Ed Reed, it would fit the bill of what they do there. Signing aging veterans and squeezing that last little bit of ability they have left out of them. Corey Dillon, Rodney Harrison, Junior Seau and Randy Moss to name a few.
Ed Reed could also just stay here in Baltimore, or walk away from the game all together. Two options that Ravens fans and the front office would most appreciate. Personally, given the cap situation, and the fact that Ed has earned all of the accolades one can in an NFL career, if he wanted to walk into Canton side by side with Ray Lewis five years from now, both winners of the last game they played in, I’d be ok with that. The more I read however, the less likely retirement is for Reed’s immediate future.
When it comes to contract negotiations, Ray Rice had some advice for Joe Flacco recently. Not even to get involved in it. Let your agent do all of the work. Sit back and don’t let it bother you. That worked out well for Rice as his agent brought him a five year, 40 million dollar deal. Joe Flacco’s agent is doing the same for him. Publically hyping up Joe Flacco and demanding top dollar.
How does this apply to Ed Reed? Well, it doesn’t. Ed Reed does not have an agent. Oddly enough he represents himself. I’m sure he’s not the only player who doesn’t have an agent. I think some guys use a family relative rather than a legal expert as an “agent.” But he’s got to be in the minority when it comes to high profile athletes by not having someone represent him. How’s that saying go? A man who represents himself has a fool for a client. I think Ed Reed has handled himself just fine though. When he says one minute he’s on the verge of retirement, then the next day he has five years left in the tank, he knows exactly what he’s doing. I don’t, but he apparently does.
The fact that he doesn’t have an agent has to benefit the Ravens in the ways they can negotiate to keep him as a Raven for life. When player’s agents get involved, the agent has one thing on their mind. Money. Money is the bottom line because that agent is getting a chunk of that money. If Ed Reed had an agent, the term “home town discount” would not be in his vocabulary. His agent would not care less about his role on the team from a leadership standpoint, or his presence giving the Ravens defense and team the best chance to repeat as champions. His agent could come in and say “The Pats are offering 10 million for this year. Match it, or we’ll play against you next you next year.”
Reed, representing himself, I think would be more open to listening to Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh discuss his position on the team, the teams position in the salary cap, and what they can do to accommodate him. Pour out their hearts on how much he means to this team and this city, how important he is as the next leader with Ray Lewis gone, and if he would be willing to throw all of that away to play one more year in different colors where the fans aren’t as rabid about him or their team.
Ozzie Newsome has stated in an article about a week ago, “I think he (Reed) realizes there may be some other options out there, but I think if you watched him and watched his body language over the course of the last eight to 10 days, that he loves being here in Baltimore. I think we can use that to help make that relationship last a little bit longer.”
That quote has hometown discount written all over it.
All of this is predicated of course on Joe Flacco. I think it will take his monster deal to get done first, in order for the Ravens to see where the rest of the pieces can fall in regards to the salary cap.
So which Ed Reed sits down with the Ravens brass when it comes time to negotiate? Ed Reed the player, who would put team, leadership, mentoring and history first? Or will it be agent Ed Reed, where money talks? Where his client is the best free safety in the history of the NFL and should be paid as such.