INDIANAPOLIS — Nick Caserio is keeping the door slightly open for Texans veteran free agent safety Justin Reid. Although league sources not authorized to speak publicly still predict that Reid will ultimately have a healthy enough market that it would be financially inadvisable to stay with the Texans, Reid said that the team promoting Lovie Smith is a bit of a game-changer for him as far as his decision-making process.
And the Texans aren’t opposed at all to the idea of Reid returning on a new contract now that his four-year, $2.443 million rookie deal has expired. Caserio, the Texans general manager, has talked with Reid’s agent, Joel Segal.
Nick Caserio says that the dialogue is open with Justin Reid
“I’ve talked to his representatives, we’ve had some dialogue,” Caserio said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I’m certainly open to bringing Justin back. Justin is a good player. He’s well thought of around the league. I know he has a lot of respect for Lovie. He had an opportunity to play in his system. If he has an opportunity to come back here, it’s another year in the same system.
“Free agency is free agency, so the market dictates where players fit and how they fall. We’ll evaluate everything. Justin is a good player and he’s done a lot of good things for the team and in the community so we’ll see how it goes in the next couple of weeks.”
Where else does Reid fit in?
Reid could be a strong fit for the Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Baltimore Ravens should he hit free agency, according to sources.
The younger brother of former Pro Bowl safety Eric Reid, Reid is a former third-round draft pick from Stanford selected by ex-Texans general manager Brian Gaine. Reid was a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and a former Ed Block Courage Award winner known for his community involvement and leadership qualities.
A rangy free safety at 6-foot-1, 203 pounds, Reid ended the season on the COVID-19 reserve list after testing positive.
Reid played in 13 games, recording 2 interceptions and 1 forced fumble. He was disciplined by Texans coach David Culley after a disagreement in a team meeting that included the coach and wide receiver Chris Conley, according to sources. Reid returned to play the following week, and that isn’t expected to have any effect on his value as a free agent.
Time to cash in
In four NFL seasons, Reid has recorded 7 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, and 3 sacks. Now, Reid is expected to cash in as a free agent.
The highest-paid safeties in terms of average per year are the Denver Broncos’ Justin Simmons ($15.25 million), the Arizona Cardinals’ Budda Baker ($14.75 million), the Chicago Bears’ Eddie Jackson ($14.6 million), the Tennessee Titans’ Kevin Byard ($14.1 million), the Washington Commanders’ Landon Collins ($14 million), and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Tyrann Mathieu ($14 million).
To join that elite category in terms of pay, Reid knows he can only control what he can control: his performance.
During training camp, Reid discussed how he handles his approach to business on and off the field.
“Honestly, no,” Reid said. “For me, it’s always been very clear. Like I’m focused on this right now. I’m going to compartmentalize everything else and I kind of tackle things as they come. When it comes to football, I want to put my best ball on the field, that’s always been kind of No. 1 in my head.
“Like everyone around me, I have a great support team around me and they understand how I operate and how important this is to me. They know when I’m locked into this mode I’m locked in, and once I step off the field then I have time to go do everything else.”
For Reid, it’s something instilled in him by his family’s military background, including his uncle serving and his mom in the reserves.
“My parents were very, very strict on the discipline aspect as far as handling my responsibilities ever since I was growing up as a kid,” Reid said. “It’s always, ‘Handle your business first, have fun and do whatever afterwards.’ But that’s only after you get your business done first. There’s kind of part of my foundation of who I am as a person.”
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