NEW ORLEANS — Basking in the glow of the Ravens’ Super Bowl XLVII on Monday morning, head coach John Harbaugh will take some time to enjoy his first NFL championship before turning his attention to another offseason.
Arguably the most intriguing item of business for general manager Ozzie Newsome will be the pending free agency of safety Ed Reed, whose six-year contract will expire after he was paid a base salary of $7.2 million during the 2012 season. The 34-year-old defensive back has expressed his desire to remain in Baltimore, but the a tight salary cap and Reed’s declining skills might force the Ravens to move in a different direction.
Reed intercepted a Colin Kaepernick pass in the second quarter of Sunday night’s game, which tied an NFL postseason record as his ninth career pick in the playoffs. The question now becomes whether that was Reed’s final theft wearing a Ravens uniform.
“We had that conversation [Sunday night] on the bus ride away from the stadium actually,” Harbaugh said. “He and I both agreed that we want him back. I want him back, and Ed wants to come back. You never know how these things are going to work out, but we are going to work like crazy to work it out because Ed’s a Baltimore Raven, and hopefully we can make that happen.”
The future Hall of Fame safety will be entering his 12th season and told reporters he plans to play next season, but he will reassess where he is from a physical standpoint as the offseason progresses. Reed revealed he sprained the medial collateral ligament in each of his knees during Super Bowl XLVII, but he continued to play despite briefly going to the locker room in the first half.
The 2002 first-round pick turned the heads of some earlier this week by expressing how he’d like to play for New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, but he reiterated that his first choice would be to remain in Baltimore. Indianapolis and New Orleans would also be logical destinations for Reed should the Ravens pass on keeping him.
There’s always the possibility that Reed decides he’s had enough after dealing with a chronic nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder for the last five years, but he made his feelings about his future clear in the moments following Super Bowl XLVII.
“This is not it,” Reed shouted emphatically. “This is not it. I’m not done.”