The Titans are still looking for a boost to their pass rush. Per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the club has brought in veteran edge defender Brooks Reedfor a workout (Twitter link).
Though Tennessee picked up a critical overtime win against the Ravens on Sunday to keep pace with the Colts in the AFC South, Mike Vrabel‘s defense has struggled all season, and one of the reasons for that is the unit’s inability to pressure the opposing quarterback. The Titans have recorded just 12 sacks on the season, third-fewest in the NFL, and they rank near the bottom of the league in terms of passing yards allowed per game.
At this point in his career, Reed is unlikely to move the needle too much, but Tennessee has to try something. The team’s two major free agent additions to its pass rushing corps — Jadeveon Clowneyand Vic Beasley— were major flops, and now Clowney is on IR while Beasley is on the Raiders’ practice squad.
Reed, 33, was a second-round pick of the Texans back in 2011. He posted six sacks in his rookie campaign, but that ended up representing a career high. For much of his professional tenure, which includes a four-year stint with the Falcons and a nine-game showing with the Cardinals last year, he has been deployed as a rotational pass rusher.
His 2019 campaign with Arizona was cut short due to a hamstring injury, and this marks the first time we have heard of interest in his services this year.
The Cardinals signed Brooks Reed this offseason and used him in a reserve capacity. But the pass rusher’s time with the team could be over.
Arizona placed Reed on IR Friday, doing so because of a hamstring injury the 32-year-old linebacker sustained. Reed played in all nine Cardinals games this season after signing a one-year, $1.63MM contract.
Reed played four years with both the Texans and Falcons but saw his Atlanta run end this year when the team made him a cap casualty. After a one-sack 2018, Reed added one sack and five tackles this season. Reed’s sack totals have declined since his 2011 rookie season, when he recorded six. He has 22.5 for his career.
To replace Reed on the 53-man roster, the Cardinals promoted linebacker Pete Robertson. They also elevated cornerback Chris Jones from their taxi squad.
Adding some additional spice to the Ezekiel Elliott–Cowboys situation, the running back may be making plans to be unavailable when his team convenes for training camp. While it is still uncertain if Elliott will indeed hold out, a source informed Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk the two-time rushing champion plans to leave the country in the coming days. Extension-eligible since January, Elliott is considering staying away from Cowboys camp due to his contract. The coming days were expected to be key for the Cowboys and Elliott, but the running back’s travel plans may affect these proceedings.
The Cowboys have prioritized extensions for Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, both entering contract years, and have been rumored to be considering a future without an Elliott extension. The 24-year-old star has until August 6 to report to camp in order to accrue a fourth year toward free agency, so any holdout past that date would be quite bold. But withholding services from a team whose offense revolves around him could be a game plan for Elliott, regardless of the free agency-related date.
Here is the latest out of the NFC:
The Cardinals will begin camp without some notable veterans. Robert Nkemdiche, Charles Clay, Brooks Reed, Max Garcia and Brandon Williams on their active/PUP list, the team announced. Clay and Nkemdiche have been battling knee injuries, the latter’s stemming from a December torn ACL. A four-year Broncos guard, Garcia tore his ACL last season as well. Hip and back problems currently limit Reed and Williams, respectively. All players placed on the active/PUP list can return at any point in camp.
The Redskins tabbed Reuben Foster to be a three-down linebacker for them, but following his ACL tear, the team does not have a surefire full-time linebacker. While J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington notesMason Foster will reprise his role as a starter, it is not certain if he will play consistently in nickel sets. Pro Football Focus did not grade Foster as a solid coverage ‘backer last season. However, the Redskins may have a nickel answer in third-year man Josh Harvey-Clemons. The team plans to use the former Louisville safety as a passing-downs linebacker, Finlay adds. A former seventh-round pick, Harvey-Clemons played just 196 snaps last season.
Reed’s one-year deal is worth $1.625MM with $250K fully guaranteed, Adam Caplan of SiriusXM tweets. The team’s announcement stated that Reed, who played defensive end in Atlanta, will move to outside linebacker in the Cardinals’ 3-4 scheme. Reed had been with the Falcons for the past four seasons, and had one year left on his contract when the team cut him Wednesday.
Reed initially entered the league as a second round pick of the Texans back in 2011, and signed a five-year, $22MM deal with Atlanta in March of 2015. This past year he appeared in all 16 games for the Falcons with eight starts, but notched just one sack. For his career he has 21.5 sacks through eight seasons. He restructured his deal and agreed to take a pay cut last March to help him stick with the team, but it apparently wasn’t enough to keep him around this year.
Reed had his best years, including a six sack rookie season, while playing outside linebacker with the Texans, so perhaps he’ll return to form here. Since Reed was cut before his contract expired, he was eligible to sign right away and didn’t have to wait for free agency to open. The Cardinals have been aggressive in pursuing veteran players before the market opens, as they already claimed Tanner Vallejo off waivers earlier this week in addition to signing Alford to a three-year deal. They also claimedD.J. Swearinger off waivers from the Redskins late in the season.
This appears to be the end of the line for the Falcons and Brooks Reed. On Wednesday, the defensive end took to Instagram to bid farewell to Atlanta.
“Thankful to have been a part of the Atlanta Falcons for the last four years,” Reed wrote. “It has been an incredible journey and I’m so grateful to the city of Atlanta, the Falcons organization, my teammates, and all who have supported me along the way. I walk away with lifelong friendships and memories I will cherish forever. I’m not done yet, and can’t wait to see what’s next!”
Reed was set to carry a $5.44MM cap figure in the final year of a five-year deal. By releasing him, the Falcons will save $4.5MM against the cap with just $940K in dead money.
Last year, Reed finished out with 24 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, and graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 56 ranked edge defender in the NFL. It’s a drop-off from 2017 when he was ranked as the No. 31 edge rusher in the league by PFF and 39 tackles and four sacks.
Prior to joining Atlanta in 2015, Reed spent the first four years of his career with the Texans. The former second-round pick will now seek to join his third NFL team, unless a Houston reunion is in the cards.