Eric Reid

Extra Points: Eric Reid, Browns, Coaches, Seahawks, Workouts

We have a new update on the Eric Reid situation. The Panthers safety has been griping for a while now about the NFL targeting him with incessant drug tests in retaliation for his collusion suit against the league, and the league and NFLPA issued a statement a few days ago saying there was no evidence to support his claims. Reid isn’t dropping the issue however, and his lawyers are rejecting the contents of the letter released by the league, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

“They claim that some of the dates the NFL used in its report are incorrect”, and “want access to all evidence, records, electronic messages and information sources used to determine the findings within the report”, La Canfora writes. It’s unclear what his potential next step is, but this probably isn’t the last we’ll hear of it. We also heard a few weeks ago that the Panthers were interested in bringing Reid back in 2019 and had already reached out to his agent about a new deal.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Freddie Kitchens’ inaugural staff in Cleveland is getting a new member. The Browns are hiring former Jets running backs coach Stump Mitchell, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN (Twitter link). While Anderson writes that “his official title has yet to be finalized”, she does note that he’ll coach the running backs. Mitchell is a longtime running backs coach in the league, who has also spent some time as the head coach of Morgan State and Southern University. Mitchell and Kitchens worked together on Bruce Arians’ staff in Arizona, so the move makes a lot of sense.
  • While the Raiders’ coaching staff isn’t undergoing any major changes for Jon Gruden’s second season, at least one assistant won’t be back in 2019. Assistant defensive line coach Marco Coleman is leaving the team to take a job at Georgia Tech, his alma mater, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review Journal (Twitter link). Gruden’s first season was a disappointment, but there was no big shakeup in response.
  • Before signing kicker Sam Ficken yesterday, the Seahawks worked out a few other kickers. The team brought in Caleb Sturgis, Younghoe Koo, and Lirim Hajrullahua for workouts, according to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). Koo was the Chargers’ kicker to open the 2017 season but was cut after a handful of games, while Sturgis was the Chargers’ kicker the first half of this season before being cut in favor of Michael Badgley. Hajrullahua has been in the CFL the last five years. Seattle’s interest in kickers suggests Sebastian Janikowski, who is a free agent this offseason, won’t be returning in 2019.
  • Speaking of workouts, the Colts brought in tight end Gabe Holmes for a tryout, Balzer tweets. Holmes was signed as an UDFA by the Raiders back in 2015, and has bounced around some bottom of the rosters and practice squads ever since. The Purdue product has spent time with the Raiders, Seahawks, Ravens, and Cardinals. Holmes appeared in eight games with Arizona this year, but was used mostly as a blocker and never caught a pass.

Latest On Eric Reid, NFL

Eric Reid claims he was drug tested six or seven times after joining the Panthers last season, leading the safety to openly question whether the league was specifically targeting him. On Wednesday morning, the NFL and NFLPA released a statement saying there’s “no evidence” of any tampering in the testing schedule. 

We take any claim questioning the integrity of our collectively bargained performance enhancing drug policy seriously. We asked the independent administrator of the policy to review and produce a report on the claims of targeting,” the two parties said in the joint statement. “A copy of this report, which contains personal and confidential testing information, has been provided to Eric Reid. We will not breach any player’s confidentiality, but can confirm that the report documents the dates he was randomly selected for testing and the actual dates of the drug tests. The report also demonstrates that Mr. Reid’s tests were randomly generated via computer algorithm and that his selection for testing was normal when compared with the number of tests players were randomly selected for throughout the league during the time that he was on an active roster. There is no evidence of targeting or any other impropriety with respect to his selection for testing.”

Furthermore, the league and union inquire found that Reid’s claim of being tested six times in his first eleven weeks with the team was not accurate, a source tells Joe Person of The Athletic (on Twitter). Still, the findings of the investigation are unlikely to comfort Reid, who is at odds with the NFL. Reid still has a collusion grievance pending against the league and knelt during the national anthem in 2018.

Reid’s situation likely led to a prolonged stint in free agency last year, but the Panthers are already showing interest in keeping him off the open market this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Exploring Deal With Eric Reid

It took Eric Reid a long time to land a deal in 2018. The veteran safety may have a clearer path toward securing one for next season.

The Panthers have contacted Reid’s agent about the prospects of another deal for 2019, David Newton of ESPN.com notes. Reid signed a one-year contract with the Panthers in September and will be looking to cash in on what looks like a crowded safety market.

Reid came in and immediately started for Carolina, doing so for all 12 games in which he’s played this season. He and other top safeties Kenny Vaccaro and Tre Boston lingered in free agency for months. Now, each defender’s one-year contract is up. The players viewed as three of the top safeties on the 2018 market may re-enter free agency in 2019, creating an interesting scenario.

Those three join the likes of Earl Thomas, Tyrann Mathieu, Lamarcus Joyner, Landon Collins and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as safeties due for 2019 free agency. Some of these defenders will not reach free agency, but Reid, Boston and Vaccaro not receiving long-term deals this year may create a crowded marketplace in March.

Pro Football Focus grades Reid as this year’s No. 44 safety. The former 49ers first-round pick having a full offseason to work in Carolina’s system would help his cause for next season, if he is to return to the Panthers.

Reid still has a collusion grievance pending against the NFL. He has continued to kneel during the playing of the national anthem. This course of action likely contributed to the 27-year-old safety, a five-year 49ers starter and 2014 Pro Bowler, remaining in free agency for six-plus months. Considering Colin Kaepernick starting this protest movement almost certainly led to him being out of football the past two seasons, the Panthers engaging in re-up talks with Reid would be a key development.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Jets, Nagy, Conley, Bengals

Todd Bowles and Matt Nagy will face off Sunday when the Jets head to Soldier Field, but this matchup’s visiting coach wanted Nagy to be his offensive coordinator last year, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. The Jets ended up hiring the since-fired John Morton to be their OC in 2017, but Mehta writes Bowles’ top choice to replace Chan Gailey was Nagy, whom he’s known for decades. However, Nagy did not take an interview, continuing as Andy Reid‘s top offensive lieutenant with the Chiefs. Reid did not want to lose Nagy, per Mehta. Nagy stayed in Kansas City and served as a part-time play-caller last season. That ended up being a critical decision, with Nagy overseeing a dynamic Chiefs offense — one that continued to incorporate college concepts and doubled as one of the league’s most innovative attacks — and the season leading to the Bears hiring him as their head coach. Jeremy Bates is now the Jets’ OC.

Here’s the latest out of the Big Apple and other AFC cities:

  • Bilal Powell‘s career may be in jeopardy. The Jets placed their longtime passing-down running back on IR today, and the neck injury Powell’s sustained will need to be surgically repaired. Bowles said (via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, Twitter link) this could be a career-threatening setback. Powell’s played with the Jets since arriving in New York as a fourth-round pick in 2011. He’s by far the longest-tenured Jet, having served as a backfield complement to the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson, Chris Ivory and Matt Forte.
  • Patrick Peterson is either off the market, or the Cardinals are orchestrating an impressive smokescreen, so cornerback-needy teams will need to look elsewhere. Some are gauging whether the Raiders would trade another Reggie McKenzie first-round pick, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweeting teams are inquiring about Gareon Conley. Janoris Jenkins is the other player contenders are monitoring, but Conley is only in his second season. He is, however, one of the many Raiders who’ve seen their stock drop under Jon Gruden. The Raiders benched Conley prior to their London game; he’d started the previous five Oakland games after missing almost all of his rookie season due to a shin injury. However, the Raiders aren’t believed to be ready to part with Conley. JLC adds the Eagles, Patriots and Steelers are among the teams exploring what it would take to land a corner.
  • An NFLPA grievance against the Bengals filed on behalf of Eric Reid did not go in the union’s favor, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports. An arbitrator denied the grievance, ruling the Bengals were within their rights to ask the then-free agent safety if he planned on continuing to kneel during the playing of the national anthem. The NFLPA argued the Bengals passed on Reid solely because of the anthem controversy, per Garafolo. Now on the Panthers, Reid has knelt during the anthem with Carolina. His collusion grievance against the NFL is still pending and isn’t expected to be heard in the near future, Garafolo adds.

NFC Notes: Thomas, Bradford, Eagles, Reid

The Seahawks have indeed fined safety Earl Thomas, who missed practice for non-injury reasons for the second consecutive week. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the Seahawks — who were considering imposing a substantial fine on Thomas last Sunday — fined the star defender for missing practice and for “other things.” Rapoport adds that “communication should increase going forward,” but it is presently unclear as to whether he is referring to communication between Thomas and Seattle or between Seattle and other clubs who may want to trade for Thomas. We heard earlier today that the Steelers were interested in Thomas, but there has been no communication between Seattle and Pittsburgh at this point.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds that the Seahawks are still asking for a second-round pick for Thomas, and that the Chiefs remain interested (though Kansas City does not want to give up a second-rounder). The Cowboys, of course, offered a second-round pick to Seattle earlier this year, but the Seahawks wanted more from Dallas at the time since the two teams were set to play each other last week. Now that the Cowboys-Seahawks matchup has taken place, perhaps the Seahawks will be more willing to consider the Cowboys’ offer, but Rapoport indicates (video link) that the Seahawks want two second round picks in exchange for Thomas, which seems like an especially lofty asking price.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • Sam Bradford is now the Cardinals‘ No. 3 quarterback, per Schefter, who says that going forward, rookie Josh Rosen will be the starter and will be backed up by Mike Glennon (Twitter link). That means that Bradford will generally be inactive on game days and will miss out on his active roster bonuses of $312,500 per game, a situation we explored in more detail last week.
  • Another tough blow for Rams outside linebacker Dominique Easley. Per the team’s official website, Easley, who has suffered three torn ACLs since 2011, may be heading for his fourth surgery in the last seven years. Head coach Sean McVay said that Easley, who converted to outside linebacker during training camp, is suffering complications from his previous injuries.
  • Prior to signing him a few days ago, the Panthers did not ask new safety Eric Reid about his anthem protests or his collusion case against the league, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. GM Marty Hurney said team ownership was not involved in the signing, and that it was a purely football move.
  • Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery will make his 2018 debut today, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (via Twitter). Rapoport (video link) reports that Jeffery’s status for this week was up in the air because of a virus that made him seriously ill, but that his shoulder is good to go.
  • As Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer observes, the Eagles have four prominent starters playing out the final year of their respective contracts: Jordan Hicks, Ronald Darby, Jay Ajayi, and Brandon Graham. Even if the Eagles wait until after the 2019 season to give quarterback Carson Wentz what will surely be a massive extension, Philadelphia has to plan for that contract now, which means the club will have some difficult decisions to make with respect to its impending free agents. McLane posits that Hicks is the most likely of the above-named players to be retained, and he examines the futures of all four players in detail.
  • Jane Slater of the NFL Network reports that Cowboys WR Terrance Williams will be inactive today, and that the recently re-signed Brice Butler will be leaned upon more heavily as a result (Twitter link). Williams, the most expensive receiver on Dallas’ roster, may be facing a suspension stemming from his May arrest and recently missed practice, though that absence was reportedly an excused one and was unrelated to the possible suspension. Williams, though, has just two catches for 18 yards this season, and the team wants to give someone else a shot.

South Notes: Bucs, Reid, Titans, Jags, Colts

The Titans will have their offensive line intact on Sunday against the Eagles. Jack Conklin is returning after missing the first three games, and the third-year right tackle starter appears to be glad his rehab took this careful route from the ACL tear that required a full offseason and some regular-season time to overcome. It looks like the Titans’ decision to keep Conklin off their PUP list was critical, since a PUP designation would’ve shelved him for the season’s first six weeks.

I honestly feel better than I’ve ever felt playing,” Conklin said, via Erik Bacharach of The Tennesseean. “I feel faster, I feel quicker, and I’m honestly a lot stronger than I’ve ever been playing.”

Conklin and Taylor Lewan haven’t played in a full game together since the Titans’ wild card win over the Chiefs. Lewan suffered a concussion earlier this season but is now back at his left tackle spot. Both players are signed through at least 2019, although it’s a near-lock the Titans will pick up Conklin’s fifth-year option next May.

Here’s how some other South-division teams look going into their Week 4 games:

  • Dirk Koetter wanted Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken to focus more on the offense as a whole rather than having to split time between OC duties and wide receivers coach as he previously did. It was Koetter’s decision to hire a wideouts coach, Skyler Fulton, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times notes. Monken then took over devising the Bucs’ practice scripts before calling plays in the preseason, per Stroud, who adds Koetter made a concerted effort to accelerate Bucs camp practices in order to squeeze in more work. Stroud argues it was a smart decision for the Bucs to stick with Koetter, a chopping-block candidate after 2017’s disappointment, than bringing back Jon Gruden.
  • The risk Le’Veon Bell will wear down as his late-20s seasons commence should induce the Colts to stay away from the soon-to-be 27-yard-old running back in free agency, at least at the price he seeks, Nat Newell of the Indianapolis Star writes. Chris Ballard‘s repeated mantra reiterations of building through the draft makes it unlikely the Colts will trade for Bell, Newell adds. The Colts are projected to possess a staggering (and league-most) $126MM in cap space in 2019. They could more than afford Bell and do not have much in the way of proven ball-carrying talent. But the risk of not getting value from this unique free agent would make an investment risky.
  • Eric Reid‘s Panthers contract maxes out at $2MM and includes $1MM in base salary. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero has numbers for the gray area in between, tweeting the sixth-year safety could earn up to $610K through incentives. Wage bumps for playing time and a Pro Bowl nod exist in this deal. Reid hasn’t made the Pro Bowl since 2014. Carolina’s on a bye this week, giving Reid additional time to acclimate to his new team’s defensive scheme.
  • Leonard Fournette sent and deleted a tweet that indicated he will be back for the Jaguars‘ Week 4 game against the Jets, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk notes. The second-year running back included the phrase “happy to be back” in his since-deleted tweet, providing a good sign he’s ready to return from the hamstring malady that cost him two games (and perhaps a decent sign the Jags don’t want the Jets knowing this a day in advance). The Jags went 1-1 without their offensive centerpiece.

South Rumors: Conklin, Freeman, Reid, Colts

Jack Conklin is in line to make his season debut for the Titans. The right tackle participated fully in Tennessee’s Friday workout and is set to play Sunday, per TitanInsider.com’s Terry McCormick (on Twitter). Finalizing a recovery from the torn ACL he suffered during the Titans’ divisional-round loss last season, Conklin missed the team’s first three games. Taylor Lewan returned from a concussion in Week 3. This will mark the first time the Titans have deployed their top two tackles together since that Patriots game in January.

Adoree’ Jackson also passed concussion protocol, per McCormick, paving a path for the second-year cornerback to play Sunday as well. Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • Devonta Freeman‘s knee issue, though, has not progressed to the point he’ll reclaim his starting spot. The Falcons will hold their first-string running back out again this week, Dan Quinn said Friday (via ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure, on Twitter). Freeman has not played since injuring his knee against the Eagles on opening night.
  • Eric Reid‘s Panthers deal includes $390K in per-game roster bonuses, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (on Twitter). The $390K will be in addition to Reid’s $1MM base salary, and Schefter adds playing-time and Pro Bowl incentives could bump this pact up to $2MM. It’s unclear what the playing-time thresholds are, or how much a Pro Bowl nod would increase’s Reid’s pay, however.
  • Patrick Robinson underwent ankle surgery on Wednesday, ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett of ESPN.com reports. This operation came because the Saints cornerback tore multiple ligaments in his injured ankle, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (on Twitter). The Saints placed their slot corner on IR earlier this week. He is not expected to return this season.
  • Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo will miss another week because of his injured hamstring. Frank Reich confirmed (via The Athletic’s Stephen Holder, on Twitter) the eighth-year veteran is out for Sunday’s game against the Texans. Castonzo has not played in a game this season and has now experienced multiple setbacks in attempts to surmount this hamstring problem. He’s not yet being considered for IR, however.

NFC Notes: Panthers, Seahawks, Packers

Eric Reid‘s one-year deal with the Panthers has a base value of $1MM, but he can earn an additional $900K via other means, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Reid could collect the extra cash via playtime incentives, Pro Bowl incentives, or per-game roster bonuses. Carolina needed extra defensive backs after recently losing Da’Norris Searcy, and Reid should immediately step into the club’s starting lineup opposite Mike Adams. Reid, of course, has protested police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem, but that issue reportedly didn’t come up during his meeting with the Panthers.

Here’s more on Reid and the rest of the NFC:

  • The 49ers reportedly offered Reid a contract before he signed with the Panthers, and they weren’t the only NFC West club to do so. The Seahawks also discussed a deal with Reid, per Jim Trotter of NFL.com (Twitter link), and were the first team to offer Reid a pact. Seattle negotiated with Reid while fellow safety Earl Thomas was holding out, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports (via Twitter) the offer was pulled after Thomas reported. Per Condotta, Seattle and Reid couldn’t agree on a salary.
  • Doug Baldwin returned to Seahawks practice on Wednesday for the first time since going down with an MCL injury in the club’s Week 1 game, according to Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). While Baldwin hasn’t yet been given clearance to play in Week 4, he says he’s “chomping at the bit” to return to action, tweets Curtis Crabtree of Sports Radio KJR. Baldwin’s return would be an obvious boon to a Seattle offense that has given more snaps to Brandon Marshall and Jaron Brown.
  • Buccaneers safety Chris Conte was the victim of a vicious stiff arm from Steelers tight end Vance McDonald on Monday night, but the veteran defensive back was actually playing through a torn PCL, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Conte was placed on injured reserve earlier this week, but given that his recovery timeline is just six weeks, it’s conceivable he could return later this season. Tampa Bay will rely on fourth-round rookie Jordan Whitehead at safety for the time being.
  • Cornerback Bashaud Breeland originally inked a three-year, $24MM deal with the Panthers this offseason, but after a freak injury resulted in a failed physical, the veteran defensive back was forced to take quite a pay cut on his one-year deal with the Packers. Breeland signed a minimum salary benefit pact, as Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com writes, so he’ll collect a base salary of $790K plus a $90K bonus. However, under the rules of the MSB, Breeland will only count against Green Bay’s salary cap at the rate of a second-year player ($630K).

49ers Considered Re-Signing Eric Reid

The Panthers signed free agent Eric Reid on Thursday, but they weren’t the only club with interest. The 49ers were among the clubs that made a “sincere run” at the safety and had interest in signing him to a one-year deal, according to Jim Trotter of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Starting strong safety Jaquiski Tartt was held out of Week 3 with a shoulder injury and free safety Adrian Colbert was forced out of that game with a knee issue, so the Niners could be looking for reinforcements. It’s not clear whether Reid was interested in returning to San Francisco after the team moved him all around the field in 2017 and showed little interest in re-signing him during the height of the offseason.

Either way, Reid’s focus is now on helping the Panthers win. And, apparently, the Panthers were not focused on Reid’s anthem protests. The team did not ask Reid about how he plans to handle the anthem this year, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, though raising the question wasn’t really an option after the backlash the Bengals received earlier this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers To Sign S Eric Reid

The Panthers have signed free agent safety Eric Reid to a one-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Reid will help to fill the void after the team was forced to place safety Da’Norris Searcy on injured reserve last week. 

This offseason, Reid fell victim to a stagnant free agent market for safeties. His role in national anthem protests and alignment with Colin Kaepernick may have also played a role in his extended unemployment. Whatever the reason, Reid is undoubtedly happy to be back in football and in a situation where he has an opportunity to shine.

Eric has been a starting safety in the NFL and has played at a high level throughout his career,” GM Marty Hurney said in a statement. “After we put Da’Norris Searcy on injured reserve, Ron [Rivera] and I discussed our options, and Eric was at the top of our list. He is a physical safety with good ball skills and play-making ability.”

Reid took a visit with the Bengals earlier this year, but later filed a grievance after Cincinnati asked him about his anthem stance. He was scheduled to meet with the Titans earlier this month, but multiple flight cancellations prevented Reid’s visit. He was linked to the Falcons recently after they lost their second starting safety of the year, but they did not pursue him.

Reid, 26, was something of a playmaker during his first two NFL campaigns, as he posted seven total interceptions from 2013-14. While he hasn’t kept up that rate of turnover creation, Reid is still a solid starter, and Pro Football Focus graded him as the league’s No. 30 safety a year ago.

The Panthers’ signing of Reid does not impact his collusion grievance against the NFL, Mike Florio of PFT (on Twitter) hears. Reid is represented by attorney Mark Geragos, the same lawyer representing Kaepernick in his case against the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.