Could Reed end up with Pats next season?

January, 17, 2013
1/17/13
4:15
PM ET
Ed Reed could be playing in his final game with the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday's AFC Championship Game. But this might not be his last one in New England.

Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowl safety, is an unrestricted free agent in March, and there have not been any contract talks with the Ravens since before the 2011 season. If Reed leaves the Ravens after this season, my money is going to be for New England.

I can see Reed playing for the New England Patriots for two reasons: the Patriots need a playmaker in the back end of the defense after giving up the most passes over 20 yards in the NFL this season and coach Bill Belichick loves Reed. It's a full-blown man crush. A couple of years ago, Tom Brady joked that Belichick wanted to adopt Ed Reed and change his name to "Ed Belichick."

Just listen to how Belichick talks about Reed:

In January 2012, Belichick said Reed "probably covers more field back there as a single safety than most teams can cover with two." This week, Belichick sounded like he was gushing when talking about Reed's legacy, saying, "He just does things that nobody else at that position does or I don’t know if they’ve ever done it. He’s special. He's really special."

Coming from Reed's vantage point, I can only see him going to a team with championship aspirations. Reed, who turns 35 at the start of the 2013 season, doesn't want to end his career on a rebuilding team.

So, if Reed comes available, I would expect Belichick to personally make the call to Reed. Of course, this is assuming that Reed will be available in March. While I don't see the Ravens investing a long-term deal in Reed, the team could put the franchise tag on him if it can get a long-term deal reached with quarterback Joe Flacco.

On Sunday, Reed is looking for his first trip to the Super Bowl when the Ravens play at New England. But his destination this offseason will also be a major storyline.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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