Ed Reed (04/22/13)
Leading up to the NFL Draft we will take a look back at some of the big moves during the NFL Free Agency. We will grade each signing, analyze fantasy impact, and look at prop bets for each player acquired where appropriate. This is all done through 50,000 simulations of last season with the signed players joining their new teams. Previously covered: Mike Wallace, Wes Welker, Reggie Bush, Carson Palmer, Matt Flynn.
Houston signed Reed to a three-year deal worth $15 million, $5 million guaranteed. The Texans considered retaining former safety Glover Quin but never could agree to terms. Quin signed a five-year $23.5 million deal with Detroit.
In addition to replacing starting safety Glover Quin, Texans owner Bob McNair said Houston's secondary needed more veteran leadership. Reed has played in 160 games over eleven seasons including fifteen playoff games.
Below is a look at Reed’s numbers over his eleven-year career. In the past three seasons, including the playoffs, Reed has a league-high 17 interceptions.
Point of clarification, we are simulating Reed on the field for Houston as the starting safety. It is important to remember that these projections are rough estimates since we are using last year's schedule, assuming all players are healthy, and not accounting for all the changes throughout the NFL.
Free Agent Signing Grade: B
As a baseline, we simulated the entire season without the addition of Ed Reed. On average we projected the Texans to win 11.1 games while losing 4.9. Houston wins the AFC South by 4.5 games.
After accounting for the addition of Reed as the starting safety Houston wins on average 11.2 games and loses 4.8 games. The Texans win the AFC South by 4.8 games. Fun note, when we take Reed (and only Reed) off of the Ravens they win 0.9 fewer games (9.5 with, 8.6 without) than when he is on the team.
At 34, Reed is no longer the player that won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. However, according to Pro Football Focus Reed was still a top-20 safety in coverage in 2012. Reed did manage four interceptions last season returning one for a touchdown. Reed replaces a younger safety (Quin 27 years old) but his experience should make up any difference. With a favorable contract the Reed signing grades out to a B.
Houston’s Defense: The Texans were a preseason top-5 pick a year ago and finished as the 7th overall fantasy defense in 2012. Houston is currently projected as the 5th best defense in fantasy heading into this season. The addition of Reed increases the Texans’ interception ratio from 2.7% to 3.4%. Houston should produce solid fantasy points week in and week out.
Ed Reed (Individual Defensive Player Leagues): The Texans have one of the better defenses in the league, which should allow Reed to play his normal centerfield position. Reed does not play in the box enough to provide consistent value in tackle-heavy formats. However if you participate in a “big play” league then Reed may provide value late in your draft.