Nothing lasts forever, especially in the NFL, where team-player loyalty doesn’t exist; it’s all about production and money. Ed Reed left the Baltimore Ravens after 11 seasons to the Houston Texans, while Brian Urlacher, a 13-year veteran with the Chicago Bears, will play for someone else next season.
We’ll begin with Reed, who looked slightly drifting away from the Texans in the last couple of days after previously being very strongly linked to them. The nine-time Pro Bowl safety was looking for someone to pay him around $6 million a season for more than just a couple of years, but both the Texans nor the Ravens, who never really showed too much interest in keeping a player that is synonymous with their success on defense over the last decade just as Ray Lewis is. Reed eventually signed a deal worth $12 million for three years with Houston, realizing he isn’t going to get anything better than that.
This marks the first substantial win for the Texans this off-season after mostly losing players to other teams: Safety Glover Quin to Detroit and tight end James Casey and linebacker Connor Barwin to Philadelphia. For the Ravens it’s just another pretty big name gone – Reed joins Boldin (traded to SF), Paul Kruger signing with the Browns, Ellerbe going to Miami, Cary Williams to Philadelphia while Bernard Pollard was released and Ray Lewis retired.
The Chicago Bears didn’t really want Urlacher on their team. After 13 seasons, 8 Pro Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl (loss), Urlacher, the first name to come up when thinking of the modern day Bears defense, won’t be playing for the team. Chicago low-balled him if rumors are to be believed – Urlacher was willing to play for something around $3-3.5 million, but the Bears offered him even less than that.
The negotiations began with Urlacher seeking a two-year, $11.5 million deal. The Bears gave him what people are calling an insulting offer of $2 million, one-year contract, with the take it or leave it attitude that cost the Patriots Wes Welker, bolting to Denver. Urlacher went down to one-year, $3.5 million offer with incentives that would have allowed him to make an additional $500,000. Chicago didn’t move from the initial offer.
While Urlacher was hoping he could finish his career with the only team he’s ever played for, he has no plans to retire, hoping that he hasn’t missed the train of big contracts offered to players around the league, as the market becomes harder to succeed in as the NFL draft gets closer; less veteran friendly. Teams might be worried about his injuries in the last couple of years, making him miss four games last season, but Urlacher is convinced there’s plenty of football left in him.