The short answer: Yes. The long answer: Edward Reed is arguably the greatest free safety to ever play football and the Jets need him not just as a player, but also as a mentor.
Reed boasts NFL records such as a tie for most playoff career interceptions, longest interception return for touchdown, most interception return yards (career), a tie for most career blocked punts returned for touchdowns, and is the first person in NFL history to return an interception, punt, blocked punt, and fumble for a touchdown.
When he was picked up by the Jets in November 2013, Rex Ryan knew he could fill the need for a good safety with Reed. Having been defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens when Reed was drafted in 2002, and given their history together, Ryan knows how to best utilize Reed’s skills both on and off the field.
Not only is Reed an excellent player, but he has proven to be a great mentor. One could argue that after he began to mentor cornerback Dee Milliner, the rookie started to play like a first round draft pick, better than he had all season. With an average of three combined tackles per game before Reed signed, Milliner then averaged 5.4 combined tackles per game after Reed signed and worked with him. Milliner also had three picks, all in the last two games of the season.
Reed may be considered “old” by some standards, and perhaps he didn’t have the best record with the Texans, but that doesn’t diminish his value. He brings experience to the team that many lack and he played well for the Jets last season. If the Jets signed him again for this season, he could be a good fallback for injuries that may occur and would also be able to mentor many of the younger players.
This year the Jets drafted Calvin Pryor, a free safety who has the skill to potentially surpass Reed to become the next greatest safety. Who better to help mentor and coach him than Reed himself? Reed could also do well mentoring rookie CB Dexter McDougle and FS Antonio Allen, two defensive players with a lot of potential.
On the economic side of the issue, the Jets wouldn’t have to pay much to sign Reed again because they would be signing him more for the benefit of the younger players rather than for his prowess on the field. They could sign him to a similar deal as last year, $940k for one year, but $1.5-$1.8m would be reasonable for a whole season. But this would guarantee the Jets a player with a wealth of experience, an excellent skill set, and the ability to successfully mentor younger players.