ESPN Insider KC Joyner makes the case that free agent safety Ed Reed is the key ingredient for New England to make another Super Bowl run. Joyner:
At first glance, this offseason does not look to be one where the Patriots will make one of those moves, as their current roster situation could make them place a higher priority on keeping players such as Welker, Sebastian Vollmer, Danny Woodhead and Aqib Talib on the 2013 roster.
As important as those players are, the potential decline of Tom Brady and the fact that the distance between New England the rest of the AFC title contenders is likely diminishing means a return to the status quo won't be enough for the Patriots to earn a berth in Super Bowl XLVIII.
To do that, they need to find a way to sign Ed Reed.
But can the Patriots woo Reed to New England? The cash-strapped Ravens may be hard-pressed to keep him. Joyner:
It's not as if this move is an impossible pipe dream, as Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has indicated he will not place the franchise tag on Reed, and at last check the Patriots had $18 million in cap space. In addition, as noted by AFC East blogger James Walker, New England will likely make additional roster moves to add more salary cap space, so the Patriots may be able to make an offer that the cap-challenged Ravens will not be able to match.
Read the rest of Joyner's story here.