The Ed Reed signing during the 2013 offseason was a blunder of epic proportions for the Houston Texans, but do not expect the same disappointment from new addition Vince Wilfork.
Future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed spent the first 15 years of his career as a game-changing, human highlight reel that played a big role in bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Baltimore in 2012. His athleticism, knack for big plays and an unmatched prowess roaming the defensive backfield earned him a permanent spot in Ravens lore, as well as a 2001 National Championship ring with the Miami Hurricanes.
Unfortunately, the Houston Texans received a prima donna shell of the former superstar when they gave Reed $5 million guaranteed during the 2013 offseason. A nagging hip injury unbeknownst to the Texans, combined with his nonchalance towards any notion of returning to the field doomed the marriage from the start.
Reed spent so little time on the field in Houston that he was notoriously dubbed “Coach Reed” by fans and the local media, referencing the only place fans appeared to see him, his comfortable spot on the Texans sidelines.
After recording 16 tackles, zero passes defended, zero interceptions and zero forced fumbles in seven games, the Texans cut their losses and released the 9-time Pro Bowler.
So why is Houston offering up $5 million guaranteed to another aging 11-year veteran in Vince Wilfork?
For one, Wilfork checks out physically and is not the damaged goods that Reed turned out to be. More importantly, however, Texans owner Bob McNair believes the aging Wilfork will succeed in Houston due to the position he plays, according to Tania Ganguli of ESPN.
“I think the difference is when you have someone at a position where they have to be able to run, then age is more of a consideration,” McNair said. “We thought Ed was in good shape and was going to be able to come down and play and he was a big disappointment. At nose tackle, you don’t have to run that much. He’s got to be strong. So there’s some positions you can play for more years and you aren’t taking as much risk.”
Another huge benefactor of the signing is the crucial role Wilfork will play in mentor in promising second-year nose tackle Louis Nix III.
In addition to being a low-risk signing and mentor, Wilfork provides championship experience with his two Super Bowl rings and should add fuel to the fire of a Texans defense that is hungry for success. His arrival strengthens what is already an elite defense. Paired with arguably the best player in the NFL in J.J. Watt, prepare for a year of excitement, filled less disappoint than 2013 and much more defensive dominance.
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