The Carolina Panthers are in need of some help in their defensive secondary — and they knew that there was a Pro-Bowl safety sitting out there in free agency. On Thursday, the Panthers signed former San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid to a one-year contract, even though there is a bit of drama surrounding him. For those who may not remember, Reid was the very first player to kneel alongside Colin Kaepernick in his national anthem protests.
As reported by ESPN, the NFLPA filed a grievance with the NFL on the behalf of Eric Reid back in May. That grievance detailed how the safety believed team owners and the league colluded to prevent him from being employed by the NFL, and that was all supposedly done with influence from President Donald Trump.
According to ESPN‘s Adam Schefter, the grievance against the NFL is expected to continue and move forward.
Meanwhile, Eric Reid is going to replace veteran safety Da’Norris Searcy of the Carolina Panthers — who recently suffered his second concussion in a month. Searcy was placed on Injured Reserve by the Panthers, which officially put an end to his season.
The Panthers desperately needed help on defense with the loss of Searcy, and the announcement of Reid’s signing was made public on Thursday.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 27, 2018
Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said that the team began looking through a number of options on Monday. On Wednesday, Reid was brought in to meet the coaching staff to see if there could be a good fit for him in Carolina — and it is obvious that both sides were amenable to the idea.
Reid’s grievance against the NFL was brought up, and Hurney was asked if it was a deciding factor in the signing of the safety.
“This was a football decision… We made this decision based on the fact he’s a good football player. He’s played at a very high level the last few years. We think he can come in and help us win games.”
The Carolina Panthers are currently 2-1 and tied with the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers for first place in the NFC South. In their win over the Cincinnati Bengals this past Sunday, the Panthers played with a three-safety rotation — which will change with the addition of Reid.
Not long after Reid’s signing was officially announced, his good friend and former teammate Colin Kaepernick tweeted out congratulations.
Congrats 2 my brother @e_reid35, all pro safety who should have been signed the 1st day of free agency, who has signed a football contract.
He was the 1ST person 2 kneel alongside me. Eric is a social justice warrior, continues to support his family. and communities in need. pic.twitter.com/TsZOaFycYT
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 27, 2018
In October of 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL which is similar in nature to the one filed by Reid. He remains unsigned.
The Carolina Panthers are playing well this season, but that could only continue for so long with a shortage at the safety position. Eric Reid may still have issues with the NFL — and his grievance remains in place — but now he has a new home. His one-year deal with the Panthers will get him back into the game that he loves, and he’s going to have to prove that he still has the talent to be there.