Free agent safety Eric Reid knew that by continuing to protest against social injustice during the national anthem last season, he was potentially risking his future job search. However, doing what he felt to be right was more important than being on an NFL team.

Reid's former teammate, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, is still available after becoming a free agent in March of last year. In 2016, Reid joined Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem and continued to protest last season. Did Kaepernick's continued unemployment from the NFL concern Reid as he prepared to become a free agent himself?

"I wouldn't use the word concerned," Reid told reporters in December. "I would say I understand that's a possibility. And I'm completely fine with it. The things that I've done, I stand by, and I've done that for my own personal beliefs. Like I said, I'm fine with whatever outcome happens because of that."

The outcome is becoming apparent. Reid is now four days into the week where NFL teams could have come calling (or called his agent before Wednesday at 1 p.m. PT), and there has been no buzz surrounding the safety.

Mike Jones of USA Today and Josina Anderson of ESPN believe the lack of interest has nothing to do with Reid's football skills and everything to do with the protesting.

The longer Reid remains available, the lower his value plummets. NFL fans speculated that if their favorite teams wait long enough, they would be able to sign the safety at a discount. A team like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, or even the San Francisco 49ers might be able to acquire Reid at a fraction of his perceived value.

As expected, the safety was not receptive to the idea and he voiced his opinion on the matter via a tweet on Thursday.

"The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I've protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous," Reid wrote.


The tweet attracted several responses criticizing Reid, with one suggesting that NFL general managers will merely ignore the free agent safety because of the comments.

Reid responded by saying it's ownership, not the general managers, that are forcing the holdup.

"People who know football know who can play," he wrote. "People who know me, know my character."


Reid also took a moment to respond to a user who questioned the safety's value and skill set due to the 49ers briefly moved him to linebacker last year.


While Reid hopes an NFL team will look past his stance against racial inequality, systemic oppression, and his peaceful but often criticized method to increase awareness of the issues, if one doesn't, he is okay with that too.

"There are probably teams that won't want to talk to me because of it," Reid said in December. "I'm hopeful that I will be on a team next year, but if not, again, that's OK with me."

The 49ers selected Reid out of LSU with the 18th-overall pick in 2013. He earned a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie. Last season, the 26-year-old safety registered 67 tackles, two interceptions, and four passes defensed in 13 games with 12 starts. Only once has he tallied less than 62 tackles in a season (41 in 2014).

In five NFL seasons, Reid has 70 game appearances, started all but one of those games, registered 318 combined tackles, 10 interceptions, a sack, 34 passes defensed, and two forced fumbles.

Poll

  • Would you be receptive to the 49ers re-signing Eric Reid?
  • Yes
  • No