But that doesn't mean Reed still doesn't have tremendous value, especially at his position, to be a key piece on a championship team. Two of the best teams in the NFL last season, Houston and San Francisco, have an opening at safety that Reed would be a perfect fit for.
According to Chris Duncan of the Associated Press (via Houston Chronicle), Reed is meeting with the Texans on Thursday. The team's official website says that Reed is getting high-class treatment with general manager Rick Smith picking him up in team owner Bob McNair's private jet.
The Texans have a need at safety after Glover Quin signed a five-year contract with the Detroit Lions on Wednesday.
The 49ers' interest in Reed varies depending on who you ask. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that people around the league wondered if the 49ers lost Dashon Goldson, would they take a run at Reed?
Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter
If 49ers lose S Dashon Goldson, some around league expecting them to make push for free-agent S Ed Reed. Could be Reed and Boldin in SF.3/12/2013, 1:20:29 PM
Goldson did, in fact, leave San Francisco to sign a huge contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that will guarantee him $22 million over the next five years.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com reported that the 49ers' interest in Reed is likely fabricated to drive up the price for the aging superstar.
Factoring in all that information, Reed would be a tremendous asset to either the Texans or 49ers. It certainly sounds like the Texans want Reed, based on the lengths they are going to in order to make him feel at home.
The Texans faltered down the stretch because of their inability to prevent big plays in the passing game. In losing three of the last four regular season games, they gave up almost 212 pass yards per game, nine touchdowns and had no interceptions.
Reed is still among the best center-field safeties in the NFL. He doesn't have the speed he used to, yet he is able to create turnovers because no one can read a quarterback better than him.
The 49ers may or may not be interested, but they have to fill that hole in their secondary somehow. Reed is not the heavy hitter in the secondary that Goldson is, but they need someone who can move around and force turnovers in the secondary.
Last season, one area the 49ers struggled on defense was in the secondary. They had just 14 interceptions in 2012, tied for 16th in the NFL. They need another playmaker to create plays on the days when the great front seven isn't getting after the quarterback.
No one is doubting that Reed is in the twilight of his career. That doesn't mean he still doesn't have the natural ability to help a contending team take the next step. He would be an asset to a team like the Texans or 49ers in 2013.