The Houston Texans need a safety and Ed Reed needs a new home.
Throw $5-6 million in with those two, and you could potentially have a cosy fit.
But while Reed now flies home to Atlanta to think about his recent trip to Houston – contemplating moving across four states to be with long time friend Andre Johnson – what if he decides he doesn’t like what the Texans are offering? After all, Reed is going on 35-years old – so is he really worth the kind of money owner Bob McNair is going to throw at him?
It’s been three days now, and all the Texans have managed to squeeze out of Reed is his love for Houston, and that his his interest is “mutual”. So, probably, there’s a 50/50 chance he’s in battle red next season.
If all of this talk falls through, here’s a few guys the Texans could look at to fill their need at safety:
The Draft Option
Kenny Vaccaro – Free Safety, Texas
If Vaccaro does happen to fall to the 27th spot in the first round (or later), he gives the Texans a replacement to the departed Glover Quin, but also adds some serious physicality at the free safety spot. Some say he lacks a little discipline when it comes to transitioning over to the NFL, but Wade Phillips’ 43 years of coaching should smooth that out. Realistically if the Texans are looking to replace Quin as easily as possible – Vaccaro fits the mould. He had five pass break ups in 2012 and two interceptions, numbers similar to Quin’s. Vaccaro’s stocky build also makes tackling one of his strongest points.
Eric Reid – Safety, LSU
The Texans aren’t in need of a defensive leader right now, but I think that comes part and parcel with Eric Reid. He’s a very vocal player, and has the ability to meet the ball carrier hard in the open field. At the moment his draft stock continues to rise after running a 4.53 40-yard dash at the combine, and is a potential first rounder. Looking at him on tape he has the athleticism that Vaccaro possesses, but could struggle with tackles from time to time and often looks for the big hit first. That can be expected though from a young guy that chose to skip his senior season and enrol in the draft.
Jonathan Cyprien – Safety, Florida International
The Texans ranked seventh in rush defense last season, an honour Wade Phillips would probably like to maintain in 2013/14. Therefore looking at a guy like Jonathan Cyprien, someone who is a talented all-round player both in the air and on the ground, is worth the time. Cyrpien hurt his draft stock a little at the combine, running a 4.60, but made up for it with a 4.56 and 18 reps on the bench at his Pro Day. Where he makes up for lack of speed though is with his vision over the top, and his quickness to the ball. Despite his slow 40 time, he also has the power to blast past blockers and make plays for a loss in the back field. It’s all about blast with Cyprien, and he’s turning himself into a first round prospect the Texans could consider.
Michael Huff – Safety/Corner, Oakland Raiders (Released)
There’s a lot to be desired from the free agency class in terms of safety/corners, so I’ll keep this short. Huff was released by the Raiders a few days ago, and is one of few guys that can transition between safety and corner in the class. He’s younger than Ed Reed at age 30, and his best came in 2010 where he drew 77-tackles and three interceptions in Oakland. If the Texans looked at Huff, it probably wouldn’t include anything more than a one-year deal. Even so, that could be worth it. His cover skills are slowly improving, and if nothing else, he is a Texas native.
Charles Woodson – Safety/Corner, Green Bay Packers (Released)
If the 49ers aren’t interested, then Woodson will surprisingly be lost in the pool at this stage. He battled some injuries last season with the Packers, but had always been a cornerstone of their defense – particularly in winning a Super Bowl. What Woodson offers the most of right now is veteran leadership, and of course the good set of tackling hands he’s always possessed.
Kerry Rhodes – Safety, Arizona Cardinals (Released)
Rhodes is perhaps the strongest of the bunch here, leaving Arizona after an impressive season, only to be cut due to financial reasons. Rhodes had four interceptions, a sack and 67-tackles on the board last season, and still falls into that experienced age bracket the Texans may be seeking at age 30. Rhodes has also missed just eight games in his nine year career, making him a reliable prospect.
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