Linebacker Brooks Reed appears set to hit free agency tomorrow after having the past three days to meet with potential suitors.
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Although much of the Houston Texans roster concerns have been settled with the resigning of impending free agents; quarterback Ryan Mallett, cornerback Kareem Jackson, and offensive tackle Derek Newton, the team still must decide if they are willing to let Reed go.
The Atlanta Falcons, however have shown increasing interest in the veteran linebacker as tomorrow marks the first day they can officially make an offer.
Reed, standing at 6-3 and 254 pounds, produced a total of 41 tackles, two sacks, four deflected passes and his first career interception during the 2014 season. With fellow linebacker Jadeveon Clowney struggling to recover from microfracture surgery, Reed would be set to play a bigger role for the Texans, should he return.
Why then, hasn’t Houston made an offer to keep their fourth year man out of Arizona? The most likely reason could be that they want to test what other teams are willing to pay Reed before they throw out a number. The danger with this tactic is risking the possibility that Reed takes his chances with another team.
The Texans played a similar tactic with safety Glover Quin two years ago and got burned when they took too long to get back with him, as he departed for Detroit. Now just because a player hits free agency does not mean that he won’t return. At this point, however, it appears likely that Reed is leaning toward signing with the Falcons, per reports at Bleacher Report.
The other possible reason for Reed to be allowed to meet with other teams is general manager, Rick Smith is simply willing to part ways. The Texans do have a few options to consider at the outside/inside linebacker position. The main question would then be where does Smith expect Reeds’ replacement to come from?
With other roster needs on the Texans’ plate, it could become difficult for them to replace Reed outside of their current depth chart. That being said, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel might be ready to roll with Whitney Mercilus at the linebacker spot. Mercilus finished with 50 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles in 2014 during arguably his best season yet, only in his third NFL year.
Whichever way Crennel chooses to lead his squad, it will be a delicate chess match going forward in order to retain a top class defense moving closer toward the draft and the 2015 campaign looming overhead.