Could Ed Reed Be a Fit for the Indianapolis Colts?

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistJanuary 31, 2013

Ed Reed in a Colts hat? Why not?
Ed Reed in a Colts hat? Why not?A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Though it's hard to imagine Ed Reed in any colors but purple and black, the future Hall of Famer could end up trading in his classic Ravens colors for the blue and white of Indianapolis.

Reed is set to become a free agent, and though he's contemplated retirement before, talk is heating up regarding a possible move to New England or Indianapolis.

As reported by Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Reed has expressed interest in playing for Bill Belichick of the Patriots. Comments like that have led Jamison Hensley of and others to speculate that Reed may be willing to play for other teams than just Baltimore.

A natural fit would be Indianapolis, where he could reunite with former college and pro coach Chuck Pagano. Reed was also college roommates with Colts receiver Reggie Wayne.

Aside from relationship-based speculation, the Colts have an obvious need at safety.

While his skills have clearly diminished, Reed proved he can still be a viable component of a championship-caliber team this season.

He was durable in 2012, piling up more than 1,000 snaps and starting all 16 games. Reed hasn't missed a game in two seasons. His range isn't what it used to be, but there's no reason to believe he couldn't be an upgrade for Indianapolis.

The Colts suffered through 2012 with one of the worst secondaries in football. Antoine Bethea struggled at strong safety and Tom Zbikowski failed to demonstrate that he deserves an NFL starting job.

Overall, the Colts had one of the worst pass defenses in football, ranking 27th in DVOA (per Football Outsiders).

While Reed would add name recognition, at age 35, he's anything but a permanent solution at one of the most important positions on the field.

Only 20 players have ever started at least eight games at safety after age 35. Eight of those only did it once. Only three (Eugene Robinson, Rod Woodson and Brian Dawkins) did it more than twice.

In other words, Reed would likely be nothing more than a one-year stopgap for the Colts. He'd be around to play as much as he can and contribute leadership and experience to an otherwise young group.

At the right price and the right expectations, Reed would make sense for any club, but especially a young team looking for a mentor.