Glover QuinEditor’s Note: will evaluate and analyze one potential Patriots free agent addition every day from Feb. 18 through the start of NFL free agency on March 12.

The Patriots’ apparent free-agent prize this offseason is safety Ed Reed, and after nine Pro Bowls and 61 interceptions why wouldn’t he be. But wants are very different than guarantees.

Reed pondered the possibility of playing under Bill Belichick during Super Bowl week, but a passing remark provides little to no security. The 34-year-old safety would have a meaningful impact on the Patriots’ secondary, there’s no questioning that, but his loyalty to the Ravens might be too strong to lure him to New England. That is why there are contingency plans.

Fortunately for the Patriots, there is a wide variety of secondary options this offseason and the safety position is as stocked as it has ever been. Reed may headline the class, but there is plenty of talent to spare, including maybe the most underrated and undervalued safety on the market, Glover Quin.

The Houston Texans took a flier on Quin in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL draft, expecting the New Mexico product to be a solid depth option in the secondary, but he’s blossomed into so much more. Quin became an immediate contributor for the Texans during his rookie season, finishing fourth on the team with 68 tackles and first in the secondary with 11 passes defensed.

Quin has continued his solid play over the past three seasons as well, becoming the focal point and leader of the Texans’ secondary. At just 6-foot and 205 pounds, Quin isn’t the most intimidating player on the field but his work ethic, focus and strong tackling skills have made him a force to be reckoned with.

After four seasons in Houston, the Texans decided not to hit Quin with the franchise tag this offseason and he now prepares for his first venture onto the free-agent market. Having just turned 27 during the postseason, he is one of the youngest secondary players on the market, which is enticing. He does have playoff experience, though, in each of the past two seasons, which makes him even more intriguing.

The Patriots should know Quin’s skill set and deficiencies all too well, considering Tom Brady lit up the Texans’ secondary in both meetings this season. Quin seemed to struggle in the regular season meeting, allowing Brandon Lloyd to get behind him for a big score at one point, but he appeared much more sound and prepared for the second meeting with the Patriots’ high-powered attack.

Quin’s ability to adapt on the fly and his tenacity as a student of the game are things that Belichick and the Patriots will regard highly in his evaluation. What might make him even more desirable, though, is what is expected to be a reasonable enough price tag. Quin isn’t going to cost the Patriots the $5 million-plus per season that Reed, Dashon Goldson or William Moore might. Instead, he will likely seek a little less and offer the Patriots more flexibility to spend elsewhere.

Devin McCourty is still developing in that safety role and having another blossoming young star beside him would help to build one of the most formidable safety duos in the NFL today. Quin isn’t the big-name pickup some Patriots fans might be expecting, but he would fall right into the wheelhouse of what Belichick is looking for.

No, Quin doesn’t have a lengthy or accolade-filled resume or the pedigree of Reed, and he never will. But he does boast plenty of his own strengths and could be a reliable contributor to the Patriots’ secondary for the near and distant future.

Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.

Other free agent possibilities: Gosder Cherilus  Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie  Danny Amendola – Anthony Spencer – Anthony Fasano – Dwight Freeney – Brandon Moore – Dunta Robinson

Photo via Facebook/Glover Quin