Veteran free safety Ed Reed's decision-making process is "heating up," according to league sources with knowledge of the situation.
The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year could make a decision within the next 24 hours, predicted one source.
The nine-time Ravens Pro Bowl selection visited the Houston Texans and they are regarded as the frontrunner, but one source cautioned that Reed hasn't made up his mind and could always shift gears.
The Ravens have made it clear that Reed is welcome to return, but not at a high price. The Super Bowl champions have scheduled a visit with former Oakland Raiders safety Michael Huff in the next five days, so the team is already making contingency plans.
The Texans put on an aggressive recruiting pitch on Reed, flying him to Houston last week on owner Bob McNair's private jet. He spent nearly two days in Houston meeting with team officials, including general manager Rick Smith, coach Gary Kubiak and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
The only snag was money as Reed, 34, was hoping to command an offer in the $6 million to $7 million range after earning a $7.2 base salary in the final year of a six-year, $44.5 million contract last season in Baltimore.
Reed's agent, David Dunn, continued to haggle with Texans general manager Rick Smith during the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix and talks are being characterized as positive as discussions continue.