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Top free agents in the division: No. 3

3/9/2013

Free agency officially begins Tuesday, so the AFC North blog is counting down the 20 best free agents (unrestricted and restricted) from the teams in the division. Let's continue with No. 3 ...

ED REED

Ravens safety

Status: Unrestricted free agent

The good: Reed is a strong locker room presence. He is revered by the Ravens' younger players and some would say he's been influential the past couple of years than Ray Lewis. Reed still makes an impact on the field. Even if he isn't intercepting passes, his presence changes how offenses attack. Quarterbacks often throw away from him. Since 2002, Reed has the most interceptions in the league, 11 more than Asante Samuel.

The bad: He is a liability when it comes to tackling. He missed 15 tackles last season and that doesn't include the two times that a player leapt over him. Reed turns 35 just as the 2013 season begins, and he isn't the same playmaker. He has had four or fewer interceptions in three of his past four seasons.

The bottom line: The Ravens want Reed to end his career in Baltimore and would like to keep his leadership, especially since the retirement of Lewis. But the Ravens' focus in free agency is linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. There's a good chance the Ravens can keep Reed, but he should draw interest from the Patriots and Colts. If the Ravens' offer is close to the ones from other teams, Reed will probably stay in Baltimore. If the Ravens can come close to matching, Reed likely will be playing elsewhere.