After two days of being aggressively recruited by the Houston Texans, veteran free safety Ed Reed left Texas on Friday afternoon without agreeing to terms as he returned to his home in Atlanta.
In what remains a fluid situation with the two sides still haggling over money and not so far off financially that doing a deal would be unrealistic, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year plans to contemplate his options over the weekend while attending to a previous obligation unrelated to football.
Reed is seeking a contract ranging from $6 million to $7 million per year, and the Texans' proposal is at roughly a $5 million annual average, according to league sources with knowledge of the situation.
Talks aren't expected to advance again until the NFL owners meetings that start Monday in Arizona. Reed was paid $7.2 million last season in the final year of his Ravens contract.
One source said that Reed's agent, David Dunn, is shopping the Texans' offer around the NFL.
The Ravens have kept tabs on the situation by remaining in contact with Reed's representatives. Although the Super Bowl champions still hold interest in Reed, 34, their tight salary-cap situation and his asking price makes him returning to Baltimore far from a lock, per a source.
The Ravens didn't stand pat Friday as Reed was in Houston. They reached an agreement in principle with former Dallas Cowboys starting defensive end Marcus Spears on a two-year, $3.55 million contract.
Spears, 30, is slated to take a physical and sign his contract within the next three days.
As for Reed, his six-year, $44.5 million contract expired after the season and he became an unrestricted free agent.
Reed was impressed with the Texans' sales pitch and felt comfortable with the AFC South organization during his two-day visit, per sources close to the situation.
And Reed delivered that sentiment via his verified Twitter account while heading to the airport, writing: "Houston is a good city, great time with everyone!"
Reed was ferried to Houston with general manager Rick Smith on Texans owner Bob McNair's private jet, dining Thursday night with coaches and former University of Miami teammates: wide receiver Andre Johnson, one of his closest friends, and center Chris Myers.
Johnson told Houston reporters, including the Houston Chronicle, on Friday that he remains upbeat about the Texans' chances of signing Reed.
“Ed said, ‘Get me to Houston,’ ” Johnson said. “I think we’re going to get it done. Everything is positive. He’s a good friend and a great player. He’s a great leader and a ball hawk. I’d love to have him be part of our organization.”
Despite an aggressive push to land Reed, it didn't result in the quick deal that many expected.
Whether Reed, who intercepted four passes last season and picked off San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl in his home state of Louisiana, goes on other visits remains unclear.
The Indianapolis Colts, coached by former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, have already addressed the safety position by signing LaRon Landry. The 49ers have met with Louis Delmas and Charles Woodson, but Delmas returned to the Detroit Lions on a two-year deal.
The 49ers, whose head coach, Jim Harbaugh, and general manager, Trent Baalke, are, like Reed, represented by Dunn have yet to bring in Reed for a visit, but are regarded as a potential suitor for the nine-time Pro Bowl selection.
For now, the Texans are the focus for the Reed camp.
And the Ravens are intent on finding bargains that fit into their budget.