Outside linebacker Brooks Reed is among the group of players the Houston Texans would like back in the future, but so far they haven't moved to make that happen. Reed is scheduled to become a free agent on Tuesday, and other teams can begin discussions with Reed, or even scheduling visits with him, on Saturday.
The Texans have begun negotiations with others: Derek Newton, Ryan Mallett and Kareem Jackson, for example. But they have not done so with Reed. And while I am expecting all three to enter the pre-market tonight, they've at least traded numbers.
The Texans have waited on Reed. What to make of this?
Getting the obvious out of the way, this decreases the likelihood the Texans re-sign Reed. It harkens back to two years ago, when the Texans waited to make an offer to safety Glover Quin. By the time they got serious in their talks with him, Quin had already moved on.
What this likely means in Reed's case is that the Texans want to respond to the market rather than set it. If he gets priced out, they'll accept that and look elsewhere for an outside linebacker. But a problem will arise if the Texans lose too much of their defense in free agency. Needing to replace a starting corner, outside linebacker and safety (as Kendrick Lewis hits free agency) will be difficult, especially when the Texans also need receivers and help on the offensive line.
I'm not ruling out Reed's return. We discussed the example of Quin, and the Texans lost Connor Barwin in free agency that year as well. Chris Myers and Garrett Graham are past examples of players who did hit the market and returned. Texans general manager Rick Smith mentioned during the combine that just because a player hits free agency doesn't mean that player won't return.