Mar/17/13 07:37 PM Filed in: Ed Reed
PHOENIX -- Don't expect Ed Reed to leave the Baltimore Ravens without Ozzie Newsome waging a determined bid to keep the all-pro safety.
The Ravens general manager told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday night that he anticipates Reed's status will be finalized in the coming week, and that he expects to meet with agent David Dunn this week while in town for NFL owners meetings.
Reed, 34, an unrestricted free agent, completed a two-day visit with the Houston Texans on Friday without striking a deal that could add to the list of impact players to defect from the Super Bowl champions.
The scenario reminds Newsome of the case in 2009 with Ray Lewis, who was also represented by Dunn as he explored the market as a free agent before ultimately returning.
"Four years ago, we went down this same road with Ray," Newsome said. "Dave always does a very good job of keeping us in the loop. That doesn't mean that Ed will come back, and it doesn't mean that he will leave."
It could hinge on whether Newsome puts together an offer strong enough to convince Reed to stay put. Reed, preparing for a 12th NFL season, earned $7.2 million in 2012.
Newsome would not discuss specifics of his proposed deal, and Dunn could not be reached for comment.
Keeping Reed, though, would obviously represent a much-needed offseason victory for the Ravens and Newsome, who after signing Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco to the richest contract in NFL history (6 years, $120.6 million), were rocked by a series of departures as the new league year began last week.
Newsome, strapped under the $123 million salary cap, traded Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth-round pick -- the most that could be salvaged for the big-play receiver who appeared destined to be released after refusing to cut his $6 million salary. Then a pair of emerging linebackers, Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe, departed on the first day of free agency with contracts totaling $75 million. And cornerback Cary Williams bolted, too. This, on the heels of the retirements of Lewis and veteran center Matt Birk.
While several pillar players remain -- including Flacco, linebacker Terrell Suggs and running back Ray Rice -- it will be incumbent for the Ravens to have another strong draft next month and for the younger talent that Newsome brought aboard over the past couple of years to emerge as significant players.
"I've learned through the years, whether it's on offense or defense or special teams, you've got to be careful for how quickly you transition," Newsome said.
"You've got to make sure that you contain certain elements, while you let other elements go."
Reed, a likely Hall of Famer and respected leader, is surely one element that Newsome isn't quite ready to let go of without a last-gasp attempt to keep him.