Eric Reid

Top Remaining Free Agents

While most of the top free agents in this year’s cycle have long since signed with new clubs, there are plenty of potential difference-makers still available. Those players remain on the market for various reasons — price tag, injury concerns, etc. — but they all could be a key factor in the fortunes of whatever team they ultimately join. Let’s take a look at the best of who’s still out there:

  1. Jadeveon Clowney: If you think you’ve been reading a lot about Clowney over the past couple of months, you’re right. That’s what happens when a former No. 1 overall pick and a young dynamic talent is still up for grabs this late in the offseason. Clowney’s high asking price, originally said to be $20MM per year, certainly scared some teams off, as did his recent core muscle surgery. Some will also point to his relatively low sack totals as evidence that he is not the dynamic pass rushing force that he believes himself to be. But he undeniably has the chops to be a game-changer against the run and pass, and he is content to wait for the right situation to come along. Once teams have the opportunity to evaluate him themselves, his market should heat up rapidly.
  2. Cam Newton: Here’s another former No. 1 overall pick that we have written a great deal about recently. Like Clowney, the 2015 MVP may be signed by now if interested teams could have their own doctors examine him, and Newton is willing to be patient and wait for that to happen if waiting will allow him to secure a starting gig somewhere. But at this point, it looks like only an injury or major underpeformance will open the door for a QB1 role in 2020, so he may have to settle for a top backup job for now and hit the free agent market again in 2021. He is reportedly warming to that idea.
  3. Everson Griffen: Like Clowney, Griffen is a talented pass rusher, but unlike Clowney, Griffen has multiple double-digit sack campaigns under his belt. The 32-year-old posted eight QB takedowns in 2019, and it is a little surprising to see him unsigned this late in the process. A reunion with the Vikings may be in the cards, and the Seahawks are the only other club to be connected to Griffen at this point.
  4. Jason Peters: The only reason Peters isn’t signed yet is because of his age (38). He turned in a typically terrific season in 2019, and he has been connected to a number of clubs over the past couple of months. The problem is, many of those teams have filled their needs at the offensive tackle spots, so even though Peters has said that he is willing to play on the left or the right side, his options are now more limited. The Chargers could still be in play, and another year with the Eagles may also be a reality.
  5. Logan Ryan: Unlike several of the players ahead of him on this list, Ryan doesn’t have any notable health concerns, but his asking price — he’s seeking around $10MM per year — could be depressing his market. He turned in a productive 2019 season with the Titans and has the versatility to move around the defensive backfield, which has apparently led to multi-year offers. Given the need for quality corners in today’s game, Ryan will likely land a lucrative deal soon, it just may not be as lucrative as he wants. The Jets and Dolphins are involved in the bidding.
  6. Markus Golden: Golden enjoyed what appeared to be a breakout season with the Cardinals in 2016, posting 12.5 sacks in just his second year in the league. But injuries limited the edge rusher over the 2017-18 seasons, and he had to settle for a one-year prove-it deal with the Giants in 2019. He perhaps thought that he proved it, recording 10 sacks for Big Blue, but those 10 sacks came from just 26 total pressures, which is probably an unsustainable conversion rate. So far, only the Giants — who put the rarely-used UFA tender on Golden — have been publicly connected to him.
  7. Devonta Freeman: We haven’t heard a peep about the two-time Pro Bowl running back since the Falcons released him in March. The fact that Atlanta replaced him with Todd Gurley and his frightening injury concerns isn’t a good sign, and Freeman’s 3.6 YPC average in 2019 certainly isn’t helping matters either. Freeman’s own injury problems limited him to two games in 2018, so he is now two years removed from his last effective season. It’s nonetheless a bit of a surprise that there have been no rumors of interest in his services.
  8. Delanie Walker: The best tight end left on the market, Walker has battled injuries over the past two seasons and will turn 36 in August, so it makes sense that we haven’t heard too much about him lately. But while he may not be a TE1 anymore, he could still be a useful weapon in the passing game, and he also has a history of being a strong blocker. The Colts, Packers, and Redskins were said to be interested in him in March, and those teams continue to look like good fits even after the draft. The Ravens, who rely heavily on TEs and who traded Hayden Hurst to the Falcons this offseason, also make some sense.
  9. Eric Reid: The 28-year-old safety turned in what appeared to be a strong year in 2019, starting all 16 games for the Panthers and posting a career-best 130 tackles. The problem is, he may have had so many tackle opportunities because he allowed over 77% of throws in his vicinity to be completed. Still, he is an experienced and generally solid back-end defender, and the Texans — who employ his brother, Justin Reid seem like a logical fit.
  10. Darqueze Dennard: Dennard, a former first-round pick of the Bengals, thought he had a deal with the Jaguars in March. But Jacksonville backed out of the deal, and while there was no word on why that happened, it could be that health concerns made the Jags skittish. Dennard missed the first few weeks of the 2019 season due to a knee procedure, but he did play every game from Week 10 forward and graded out well in terms of Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. He has been Cincinnati’s primary slot corner over the past several seasons, but there has been no reported interest in him since the failed Jaguars pact.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Eric Reid

It’s the first week of May and several notable NFL names are still floating in free agency. That list includes edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, quarterback and one-time MVP Cam Newton, the once unstoppable Devonta Freeman, and a well-accomplished safety on the right side of 30 in Eric Reid

[RELATED: Three Years Ago Today, The Panthers Signed Christian McCaffrey To His Rookie Deal]

It’s familiar territory for the 28-year-old, who waited all the way until September to find his home for 2018. In that offseason, Reid was coming off of yet another solid campaign as a starter for the 49ers. He was also viewed as controversial by some, thanks to his friendship and partnerships with Colin Kaepernick. Teams say otherwise, but the national anthem protests surely hampered Reid’s market. But, in the interest of equal time, it’s worth noting that other standout safeties – guys like Tre BostonTyvon BranchRon Parker, and Kenny Vaccaro – were also left waiting by the phone that year.

This time around, Reid still offers plenty of upside, though his platform year wasn’t as strong. His new career-high of 130 tackles – including four sacks – seems solid, but a deeper glance shows a few cracks. Pro Football Focus, for example, wasn’t fond of his work, which saw more than 77% of throws completed in his vicinity. After the season, the Panthers released Reid from the remaining year on his contract.

What’s next for Reid? There are several teams that make sense, but also far fewer clubs that are in desperate need of safety help post-draft. His younger brother, Justin Reid, is making a strong case for him to join up with the Texans. After releasing Tashaun Gipson last week, Reid would profile as a major upgrade to an underperforming secondary. The Cowboys, Raiders, and other contenders should also take a good look at him, especially since he can probably be had on a low-cost one-year deal. With that, and a strong season, Reid could be in position to cash in as a free agent next year – hopefully, in March this time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC South Notes: Reader, Colts, Titans

The Texans lost D.J. Reader to an unlikely team, with the Bengals deviating from a long-conservative free agency philosophy to sign the breakout defensive lineman to a four-year, $53MM deal. Bill O’Brien confirmed (via the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, on Twitter) the Texans wanted to keep Reader. The seventh-year Texans HC/first-year Texans GM said team brass had “good conversations” with the interior defender’s camp about a new deal but acknowledged the team “couldn’t get that one done.” The Bills, Broncos and Titans were among the known Reader suitors before the Bengals swooped in. The Texans initially came in with a $6MM-per-year offer before the 2019 season, but Reader’s bet on himself translated into $13MM-plus-AAV deal. Houston has not made a move to replace Reader up front. The Texans have $35MM in cap space but are working on a Laremy Tunsil extension and obviously have a Deshaun Watson deal to consider.

Here is the latest out of the AFC South:

  • Justin Reid made a pitch to O’Brien to consider his brother as an addition at safety, Wilson notes. The Panthers recently released Eric Reid. In addition to the younger Reid brother, Houston employs Tashaun Gipson at safety and just signed Eric Murray to a deal that surprised many. The Texans are not likely to make another major addition at this position this offseason.
  • Coming off one of the worst kicking seasons in modern NFL history, the Titans are bringing back late-season addition Greg Joseph. But they will add competition soon, GM Jon Robinson confirmed (via Jim Wyatt of TennesseeTitans.com). Robinson said the team will look in both free agency and the draft for its second kicker. The Titans went a ghastly 8-for-18 on field goals last season. Joseph did not attempt a field goal in two regular-season games with Tennessee and only attempted one — a make — in the Titans’ three playoff games. The former Browns kicker made all 18 of his extra point tries, however, and was successful on 25 of 29 field goal tries during his 2018 season in Cleveland.
  • The ColtsT.J. Carrie addition did not seem to add up given Kenny Moore‘s place as one of the league’s best slot cornerbacks, but GM Chris Ballard said the team needed better depth at this position (via Stephen Holder of The Athletic, on Twitter). Carrie has played both inside and outside during his time with the Browns and Raiders and will likely be given time at both spots with the Colts. He’s done his best NFL work in the slot, however, so Indianapolis should be covered behind Moore this season. Moore missed five games due to injury in 2019.

Panthers Release S Eric Reid

Eric Reid and the Panthers are going their separate ways. On Wednesday, the veteran safety took to Twitter to announce that he will be released by the club: 

It’s been a pleasure Carolina! I enjoyed my time and the support I received from the fans, media, teammates, and staff there will be remembered. Looking forward to furthering my career in another city!”

The Panthers subsequently confirmed the move. This will end a two-year tenure with Carolina.

Reid, 28, hasn’t been on the open market since 2018. In that offseason, he was forced to wait until September before landing the deal. Some believe that Reid’s relationship with Colin Kaepernick and role in national anthem protests hampered his market. Others pointed to the NFL’s safety market stagnating league-wide – other notable safeties also struggled to find substantial dollars in that cycle. In truth, both were likely factors.

This time around, Reid should fare much better. Last season, Reid started in all 16 games and thrived as he was deployed in blitz action. He finished out the year with four sacks and an eye-popping 130 tackles, good for a brand new career best.

Reid was set to play out the final two years of the three-year extension he signed in February of 2019. Instead, the Panthers will drop him to save $3MM against $5MM in dead money. Per the terms of his deal, his 2020 salary would have shifted to a full guarantee on the third day of the league year had he remained on the roster.

The release comes as a surprise, though the Panthers have been in full rebuild mode all throughout the offseason. After cutting ties with head coach Ron Rivera and tight end Greg Olsen, the club kicked things into high gear this week by putting quarterback Cam Newton on the trade block.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Colin Kaepernick Workout

Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick completed one of the most unique workouts in NFL history this afternoon. The NFL offered to stage a workout for the quarterback earlier this week. However, Kaepernick’s team became weary of the league’s intentions when his representatives were refused in their requests to open the event to the public. In a last minute decision, Kaepernick’s representation moved the event from the Falcons facility to a public location on their own.

Here’s the latest on the workout and its aftermath:

  • When the venue was changed, the NFL released a public statement on NFL.com that expressed they were “disappointed” with Kaepernick’s choice not to participate in the workout they had organized. They claimed “Twenty-five (25) clubs were present for the workout, and all 32 clubs, their head coaches, general managers, and other personnel executives would have received video footage of the interview and workout.” The league also felt the need to note they “made considerable effort to work cooperatively with Colin’s representatives,” among a list of other points that attempted to counter some narratives that the league had been purposely opaque in their negotiations.
  • The league also tweeted out from the league’s official account a thread reiterating some main points from the press release. One key point from the league’s perspective, “Colin moved his workout to a facility an hour from Atlanta Falcons Flowery Branch facility. No one got a heads up until NFL saw the Twitter statement.”
  • Former Raiders and Browns head coach Hue Jackson was scheduled to run the workout orchestrated by the NFL. However, while Kaepernick’s team invited Jackson to run the workout at the new venue, Jackson returned to the airport, according to Michael Silver of NFL.com.
  • WR Bruce Ellington, WR Brice Butler, WR Jordan Veasy, TE/WR Ari Werts, and Panthers S Eric Reid were on the field with Kaepernick for the workout, according to Kaylee Harung of ABC News. The free-agent receivers were likely hoping to catch the eyes of scouts present to view Kaepernick, while Reid has been one of the most consistent advocated for Kaepernick in the league.
  • One claim in the announcement made by Kaepernick’s representatives was that the league required he sign an agreement that included language to limit his ability to bring claims against the league. Of course, given Kaepernick’s previous collusion lawsuit against the league, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk argues the workout was a ploy by the league to put Kaepernick “in legal checkmate.”
  • In the end, there were not nearly as many teams present at Kaepernick’s workout as the NFL claimed would have been present for the workout they had planned. The Washington football team, Eagles, 49ers, Chiefs, Jets, Titans, and Lions were the teams present for his workout, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
  • The 2-hour workout was streamed on YouTube and consistently maintained roughly 45,000 viewers. On the field, one NFL executive described Kaepernick’s arm talent as “elite” and on the same level as “when he came out of college,” according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
  • Teams that had personnel present for the workout noted that the workout consisted of 60 throws and “Basically showed he’s the same guy he was,” according to Albert Breer of MMQB. After the workout, Kaepernick did not hold any formal interviews, but in his closing remarks said he would hold an interview with any team. He also thanked his fans for their support and reiterated, “I’ve been ready. I’m staying ready. And I’ll continue to be ready….The ball’s in their court. We’re ready to go.”

Kaepernick, Reid Settled For ~$10MM

In February, the NFL reached a settlement with Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid to put their collusion grievances to bed. All sides were sworn to a non-disclosure agreement with regards to the particulars, but Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal hears that the two former 49ers settled for less than $10MM. 

[RELATED: Kaepernick Interested In Playing For Dolphins]

In the immediate aftermath of the settlement, many speculated that Kaepernick and Reid could have collected tens of millions of dollars. Ultimately, they received a much more modest sum, one that does not amount to much when factoring for taxes and legal expenses.

Kaepernick and Reid accused NFL teams of colluding in order to keep them out of work. Reid eventually found a home with the Panthers in 2018, but Kaepernick has been out of football since the 2016 season.

The deal may not be a precursor to Kaepernick’s NFL return. Recently, the QB’s lawyer predicted that Kaepernick could be nearing a contract, but nothing has come to fruition over the last month. Meanwhile, Kaep reportedly wants $20MM to play in the AAF and we’ve heard nothing about his talks with the XFL since word of those negotiations broke three weeks ago.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid reached a settlement with the NFL in their collusion case last week, leading to speculation of big numbers. However, speculation that the settlement amount landed in the range of $60-$80M is incorrect, according to a source with knowledge of the situation who spoke with Mike Florio of PFT

[RELATED: Kaepernick Lawyer Predicts A Team Will Sign QB Soon]

There are other indications that Kaep and Reid did not land a colossal settlement. For example, the payments by the league to the duo did not require the approval of team owners. Instead, the NFL’s Management Council Executive Committee approved the settlement, without a vote of the member clubs, which suggests that it was not a monumental figure.

Also, multiple people connected to the league have downplayed the settlement as an amount that will cover anticipated legal expenses, which suggests a number in the seven figures, rather than eight figures. It also appears the settlement did not “buy out” Kaepernick professional football employment – that settlement amount would have been astronomical, but it’s likely a smaller sum since Kaepernick will still have the opportunity to earn an NFL paycheck, should he be given the opportunity.

The AAF expressed interest in Kaepernick (and Tim Tebow), but negotiations came to a halt when the QB reportedly asked for a $20MM salary. Reid, meanwhile, is set thanks to his recent three-year, $22MM+ extension with the Panthers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Settles With Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid

The NFL has reached a settlement agreement with Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid regarding their grievances, according to a joint statement from their attorney and the league: 

[RELATED: AAF Reached Out To Kaepernick, Tebow]

“For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL. As a result of those discussions, the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances. The resolution of this matter is subject to a confidentiality agreement so there will be no further comment by any party.”

Kaepernick and Reid accused NFL teams of colluding in order to keep them out of work. Reid eventually found a home with the Panthers in 2018, but Kaepernick has been out of football since the 2016 season. To some, the settlement agreement may signal the NFL’s unwillingness to disclose information that would give credence to allegations from the former 49ers. It’s also possible that both sides reached a compromise after taking a full assessment of the resources that would be needed for litigation.

In recent weeks, Kaepernick’s camp rebuffed NFL settlement attempts, but it appears that the NFL upped its offer to a satisfactory point. It remains to be seen whether the deal will pave the way for Kaepernick to return to the NFL, but Reid has a home thanks to his recent three-year, $22MM+ extension with the Panthers.

The NFLPA also issued a statement on the matter:

Today, we were informed by the NFL of the settlement of the Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid collusion cases. We are not privy to the details of the settlement, but support the decision by the players and their counsel. We continuously supported Colin and Eric from the start of their protests, participated with their lawyers throughout their legal proceedings and were prepared to participate in the upcoming trial in pursuit of both truth and justice for what we believe the NFL and its clubs did to them. We are glad that Eric has earned a job and a new contract, and we continue to hope that Colin gets his opportunity as well.”

Kaepernick, 31 in November, has spent his entire NFL career to date with the 49ers. From 2011-2016, he went 28-30 in his starts, though he did take the team to the Super Bowl following the 2012 season and the NFC championship game following the 2013 campaign. Kaepernick’s last start came in January of 2017 as the 49ers closed out a trying season with a loss to the Seahawks.

Since then, clubs have shunned the QB following his national anthem demonstrations. Kaepernick has not played at an elite level in several years, but, from a talent perspective, he is unquestionably deserving of a roster spot given the dearth of quality QB options on the open market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Hunt, Reid

Two teams made big contract decisions on Monday. The Browns added Kareem Hunt before most expected the embattled running back to sign, and the Panthers made sure Eric Reid would not hit the market again after he stayed in free agency for six months in 2018. Here are the details of those deals:

  • Reid signed a three-year deal worth $21.7MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, adding that the contract includes $10MM in total guarantees and a $7.5MM signing bonus. Reid, who played for a $1MM base salary in 2018, has $9MM in full guarantees coming his way on his second Panthers contract, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter). All of those guarantees will be paid out in 2019; there is no guaranteed money on this deal due after this year. There are $1.95MM worth of incentives in the safety’s agreement, which can max out at $23.65MM.
  • Hunt signed a one-year contract worth the league minimum with the Browns, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports noting (on Twitter) the deal could max out beyond $1MM if certain incentives are met. There are no guarantees included, but Rapoport adds (via Twitter) per-game roster bonuses and workout bonuses are present in this deal.

Panthers Re-Sign S Eric Reid

The Panthers have re-signed safety Eric Reid through the 2021 campaign, the club announced today. Reid’s new three-year deal is worth more than $22MM, and contains incentives that could raise the total value of $24MM, according to Mike Silver of NFL.com.

Reid, 27, was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month, but he’ll stay in Carolina without ever testing the open market. That Reid avoided free agency altogether could be a product of his experience last year, when he wasn’t signed until the end of September. The free agent market for safeties was stagnant last offseason, with multiple veteran defensive backs having to settle for single-season pacts, but Reid’s national anthem protests also likely played a role in his unemployment.

Before landing with the Panthers, Reid took a visit with the Bengals, but subsequently filed a grievance after Cincinnati questioned him about his kneeling during the anthem. He was also linked to vacancies with the Titans and Falcons, but neither club ever seriously pursued him. Reid’s one-year deal with Carolina was worth $1.39MM and had a maximum value of $2MM.

In his first season with the Panthers, the 27-year-old Reid appeared in 13 games (all starts) while posting 71 tackles, five passes defensed, one interception, and one sack. Pro Football Focus graded Reid as the NFL’s No. 55 safety among 93 qualifiers. Next year, he’s likely to play alongside Da’Norris Searcy in Carolina’s secondary, unless Mike Adams — who played more than 90% of the Panthers’ defensive snaps a year ago — is re-signed.

Although Reid is now off the board, the 2019 free agent safety market still boasts a number of intriguing options. Veterans such as Earl Thomas, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Landon Collins, Adrian Amos, Tre Boston, Lamarcus Joyner, Tyrann Mathieu, and Kenny Vaccaro are all projected to reach free agency next month.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.