Add cornerback Cary Williams to the rapidly growing list of players from the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl-winning team who the Ravens have either lost as free agents or parted ways with since the beginning of the week, a list that free agent safety Ed Reed could join as soon as today.
Williams signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent on Thursday. Reed, meanwhile, spent the day in Houston visiting with the Texans and came away impressed enough that he's expected to sign with them today, according to multiple reports.
Signing Reed is clearly a priority for Houston, especially after Glover Quin, the team's starting free safety last season, left for the Detroit Lions as a free agent.
The Texans had general manager Rick Smith fly to Atlanta in owner Bob McNair's private jet to pick Reed up and fly him to Houston. Upon arrival, Smith escorted Reed to the Texans' team headquarters, where Houston spent the day hosting Reed.
"This is classy, man," Reed told reporters in Houston Thursday, via the Houston Chronicle. "This is southern hospitality. It's a great feeling."
Reed, who will be 35 in September, has spent all 11 years of his illustrious NFL career with the Ravens, but he told the NFL Network last week that, at that point, he hadn't had any conversations with the team regarding his future since the end of the season.
"It's been a great ride," Reed said Thursday of his 11 seasons with the Ravens. "The fan support has been truly amazing - a lot of love and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
"It's definitely tough. But after 11 years, you pretty much understand things about the business. And after leaving a program like [the University of Miami] and being around the great people in Baltimore, I think the transition [to another team] will be all right."
If Reed signs with Houston, he will become the seventh starter from the Ravens' Super Bowl winning team to no longer be with the team.
That doesn't even include departed outside linebacker Paul Kruger, who led Baltimore in sacks last season and signed a five-year $40 million contract with the Cleveland Browns Tuesday.
Since Monday, the Ravens have traded leading wide receiver Anquan Boldin, released starting strong safety Bernard Pollard and lost Kruger, inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and Williams, a two-year starter at cornerback, as free agents.
Williams' deal with the Eagles is worth $17 million over three years with $10 million in guaranteed money, according to multiple reports.
Williams, 28, had 75 tackles for Baltimore last season, tied for the team-lead in interceptions (4) and ranked second on the team in pass deflections (17).
His play helped lessen the blow of losing top cornerback Lardarius Webb to a season-ending knee injury in Week 6.
But his departure shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
The Ravens are deep at cornerback with a group that includes Webb, Corey Graham, Jimmy Smith and Chykie Brown and, with around just $10 million in space under the salary cap and other needs they're still expected to look to address, it would've been a surprise for the Ravens to pay significant money in order to retain Williams.
NOTE: Baltimore re-signed reserve cornerback Chris Johnson Thursday.
Johnson will likely compete with 2012 fifth-round pick Asa Jackson for the Ravens' fifth cornerback job behind Webb, Graham, Smith and Brown.
Johnson, who will be 34 in September, signed with the Ravens in mid-November and played in four games during the regular season.
Johnson spent five seasons with the Oakland Raiders prior to joining the Ravens. He was a starter for 29 of the final 46 games he played in with Oakland.
- Pro Football
- Baltimore Ravens
- Free Agency
- Jimmy Smith
- Houston Texans
- Philadelphia Eagles
- NFL Network
- Cleveland Browns
- Detroit Lions
- Oakland Raiders
- Anquan Boldin
- Chykie Brown
- Dannell Ellerbe
- Chris Johnson (football, cornerback)
- Paul Kruger
- Bernard Pollard
- Glover Quin
- Lardarius Webb
- Cary Williams