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Jets Sign Ed Reed, But Expectations Should Be Reasonable

At age 35, Ed Reed's best days are likely behind him

By Neil Bisman
|  Monday, Nov 18, 2013  |  Updated 12:07 AM EDT
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    While Jets fans are no doubt excited over the signing of free agent safety Ed Reed, the move should be met with more of a collective shrug. After a disastrous stint this season with the Houston Texans, no one really knows just how much Reed still has left in the tank.

    Reed was released earlier this week by the Texans after signing a three-year deal worth nearly $15 million in the off-season. The Jets are a natural landing spot for Reed as head coach Rex Ryan was his defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens for four seasons.

    The guy who spent over a decade in Baltimore and was one of the best safeties to ever play the game isn't the same player fans should expect upon his arrival. His Hall of Fame resume is quite impressive, but he looked nothing like someone who was named to the Pro Bowl nine times during his short tenure with the Texans.

    Whether Houston's defense was a poor fit for Reed or 11-plus seasons in the NFL have finally taken a toll on his body is really anyone's guess.

    Coach Ryan has a reputation for being one of the brightest defensive minds in the league. If anyone could get the most out of Reed, it's likely him.

    From a financial standpoint, Reed won't cost the Jets much of anything for the remainder of the season.

    The veteran leadership Reed brings to the locker room could also be priceless. Though the final nail in the coffin in Houston for Reed were his comments about the team getting outplayed and outcoached, it was very uncharacteristic for him. Given his previous relationship with Ryan, it's highly unlikely he would say something similar in New York.

    Gang Green could certainly use a boost in the secondary. Starting safeties Antonio Allen and Dawan Landry haven't been terrible by any means, but there is room for improvement.

    Reed's signing would be more of a no-brainer though if he played cornerback. While the team has struggled all season long in pass coverage, it would be unfair to expect Reed to step in at age 35 and be the answer.

    A possible red flag for Reed is going to be his surgically repaired hip. Reed had surgery in April and appeared in just seven games with Houston after missing the entire preseason and the first two weeks of the regular season. Unlike wine, hips usually don't get better with age.

    It's certainly understandable why the Jets were interested in Reed. Anytime a player who was one of the best to ever play his position becomes available, it can't hurt to kick the tires and see what he's still capable of.

    The Jets have already had some luck this season shopping from the clearance rack and taking a chance on rehabbing, once-productive players like Kellen Winslow, David Nelson, and Josh Cribbs.  Reed is older than all three of them though, and at this point in his career it's doubtful just how much he will be able to contribute.

    If Ryan simply wanted to reunite with his former safety, it might have been in both of their best interests if Reed were to take some time off to get healthy and take another shot at it next season.

    But Reed's acquisition seems to signal the team wants to win now and is serious about making the playoffs. As long as expectations are reasonable, and Reed isn't an absolute shell of his former self, it's worth the risk.


     

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